Squishy is a cuddly, loyal, very naughty - and invisible! - pet cat. He and his owner Ava make an adorable pair .The first in an irresistible series for young readers in hilarious rhyming text with winning illustrations.
Pip Jones is a freelance journalist. Squishy McFluff won the inaugural Greenhouse Funny Prize in 2012 and Pip is delighted to bring him to the page at Faber. Pip lives in London with her husband, two daughters and a real imaginary cat.
Squishy McFluff is a funny and charming book about a girl called Ava who finds an imaginary cat. Together, they get into all kinds of mischief and her poor mother doesn’t know what to do! As a teacher, I would use this book for all ages from Prep to Grade 6. The book has some great literacy features that can easily tie into the curriculum. The most obvious way to use the book would be to teach poetry or onset and rime. The book rhymes the whole way through, which allows for teaching the structure of rhyming poetry and how it doesn’t necessarily have to be in poem form. It shows that poems can tell a story and would be great to show students, alongside some more traditional poetry styles.
If using the book in older grades, I would ask students to study and highlight the rhyming words, having them to look at the reasons that the words rhyme and how the poem is structures. From there, students could make their own version of the book, by creating their own mischiefs for Ava and her cat to get into. In younger grades, this could be done as a class book that the students illustrate themselves. If you want to go further and integrate technology into the lesson, students could use an iPad to take pictures of their new book and read it out loud to turn it into an audio-visual presentation.The book would also be a good way to look at the way that beginner chapter books are set up. The book consists of 3 chapters creating the perfect opportunity to look at beginning, middle and end. Students would be able to investigate the book to see the reasons why the author may have created each chapter and why each chapter ends where it does.
Of course, I always also look for a social learning opportunity in each book. Squishy McFluff is a good book to use when talking about taking responsibility for your own actions. All of the mischief in the book is really carried out by Ava, who can blame Squishy McFluff because no one else can see him. However, through the help of Great Grandad Bill, Ava learns that bad actions have consequences, which must be owned up to. Overall, this book is a beautiful lighthearted way to look at Rhyming, poetry or taking responsibility for your actions. I would recommend it to any classroom if only for the comical value. I have no doubts that this book will be loved by any ages.
Melissa Nichols, St Aloysius Catholic School, Tasmania