Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Whittington

Armstrong, Alan (Author)
Schindler, S.D. (Illustrator)
Penguin Random House 2006. 196 pages
First published: 2005
ISBN: 9780375828652 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Novel

Text Elements:

character, figurative language, point of view

Award

Newbery Honor Book – 2006

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Whittington, a lonely, abandoned cat, joins a community of barn animals to keep the rats in their place. Abby and Ben, the kind-hearted farm owner’s grandchildren, complete the group.

“‘My voice is harsh … I have opinions, I like to stay out, I stink, I like to fight. I’m not a house pet.’ … ‘So, what do you want from me? she asked. ‘A place in the barn … I want to be part of the talking … I want friends.’”

Written in the third person, the novel delivers a story within a story when Whittington recounts the rags to riches story of his medieval ancestor’s owner, Dick Whittington: a tale of deep friendship and adventure in exotic places. Finely etched line drawings punctuate events and chapter headings.

Whittington’s sensitive depiction of unique animal characters and their simple, honest dialogue makes them as authentic as any human character. They show this in their encouragement of Ben as he struggles to overcome dyslexia, “‘I did it!’ he yelled. ‘I’m not going to stay behind …’ Abby was laughing and crying, the rats danced, the horses tore around the paddock … All was jubilation.”

Readers will feel the same satisfaction as the characters at the conclusion of this heartwarming story of friendship and community.

  •  

    After reading the first two chapters, predict how Whittington will adapt to life in the barn. Imagine what role he will play.

  •  

    The author uses interesting vocabulary, expressions and figurative language. As you read, note the language choices you find most appealing, then share your list with your reading group.

  •  

    Using a teacher-approved website, research the original Richard Whittington who lived in London in medieval times or the original English folktale Dick Whittington and His Cat. Use a graphic organizer to compare your findings with the information in this book.

  •  

    This book contains a story within a story. Discuss how the author managed to make both stories easy to follow. What helped you understand the difference between the two stories? After discussion and reflection, make notes in your reader-writer’s notebook that will guide you in your own writing.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • Citizenship and Community Life