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The Owl and the Pussycat

owl and pussycat

Edward Lear, Louise Voce (illus)
Walker Books
Age 3-7 years

This is the classic Edward Lear rhyme playfully illustrated by Louise Voce.

It’s a must-read for all children, introducing them to the fantastical journey of Owl and Pussy Cat and their adventures along the way.

See Edward Lear’s text here



Share the storyowl1 cat

Read  aloud
This is a wonderful rhyme to read aloud, using different voices for the each character if you can. Encourage children to join in with the rhymes.

Join in
Rereading the rhyme will help children to enjoy it more and to know it well.
You can take it in turns to read a page or children can read the dialogue in different voices.

Talk about the book
Talking about the words and pictures together will increase children’s pleasure and enable them to understand unfamiliar vocabulary, such as ‘runcible spoon’. They can work out the meaning by looking closely at the illustration.

Things to make and do

Write a postcard
Using a postcard-sized piece of card or paper, children can draw a scene from the story and  write an imaginary message from the Owl or the Pussy Cat to their family telling them some of the things they have been doing. They can address it and design their own stamp.

Story map
Drawing a map of Owl and Pussycat’s journey is a good way to remember the story. Children can draw the pea green boat leaving home and rowing across the sea to the land where the bong tree grows. They can add all the characters, the food, and some of the key words or phrases from the story. They can use the map to retell the story in their own words.

Sail a boat
Make a boat out of folded paper or from a plastic bottle or carton. Add oars and a sail and then float in the sink, bath or a puddle.  Experiment by adding small toys or plastic bricks to see how many it will hold before sinking. Can you make a stronger boat?

Rhyme detectives
Children can be rhyme detectives, searching out as many of the rhymes in the story as they can find.

Do a dance
Children can learn the last verse and you can dance together as they recite it.

Learn the poem
If children enjoy learning a verse, they might set themselves the challenge of learning the whole poem. They can practice and perform it to you as they learn it.

Find out more

Here is a musical version of the poem:

from Vivian Halas

Read more stories and rhymes by Edward Lear:

The Jumblies