Caramba is a cat who can't fly. Which is a worry because, as everyone knows, all cats can fly!
Our young cousins Michaela and Marley brought this book as a present for us when they visited from Canada recently. (And I must say that ‘Caramba’ sounds best with a cute four-year-old Canadian accent!)
It was the 2010 TD Grade One Book Giveaway - in Canada, since 2000, all grade one students are given a book to keep and read with their families and own forever.
What a great gift! And what a great choice Caramba is for beginning students. Here's how it goes:
Caramba’s friend, Portia, can’t fly either – but that’s ok because Portia is a pig and everyone knows pigs can’t fly.
But poor little Caramba is the only cat who is solidly planted on the ground.
He tries. And when he fails he has to do some quick work to cover up his embarrassment, like the time he lands in his grandfather’s lap after leaping from a chair and pretends to be admiring grandfather’s slippers.
Eventually, his cousins give him a flying lesson and let go of him over the ocean – for a soft landing if necessary. Caramba plummets into the ocean! But then, something wonderful happens:
"Cats can't swim. Everyone knows that.
'Well, I can,' said Caramba."
Caramba is a funny story – there are flying cats after all. It’s a story that's ideal for children transitioning into new stages of life.
Children are often in a similar position to Caramba: there are things that ‘everyone’ can do, like remembering the days of the week, or writing your own name – but that they still struggle with.
Perhaps a child will find that little bit of extra confidence when reading Caramba. Confidence to try again, but also confidence to know that there are some things they do very well, even if they still struggle with other things.
And children may see a bit of themselves in Caramba. But they may also see a bit of themselves in Portia – interested in many things, supportive, and willing to try new things.
The story cleverly addresses embarrassment, and failure, and friendships, and even a little bit of bearing ridicule. It’s a great book to read often before setting out on a new adventure, or when feelings of being different weigh heavily.
Also ... this post about books that celebrate the things that connect everyone