Calabash Cat

Kris Harland Edel 411 Section D

Rumford, J. (2003). Calabash cat and his amazing journey. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Information about the Book

Author and Illustrator: James Rumford

Genre: Fantasy Fiction

Topic/Theme: When you journey around the world you can learn more than you thought possible.


1) Charlotte Zololow Honors Award

2) Gold Seal Oppenheim

About the Author/Illustrator

James Rumford, originally from Southern California, began writing and illustrating children's books in 1996. He has a passion for travel and learning different languages. During his travels he has learned more than a dozen languages. James Rumford gets his story ideas from his travels which is why multiculturalism is reflected in his books. He has a wife, Carol, and a son, Jonathan and he currently resides in Hawaii.

Criteria for High Quality Multicultural Literature

  • Demonstrate unique language or style

This book uses the style of Calabash designs in its illustrations. Calabash is used in Africa, specifically Chad and the main character of this book also starts his journey in Africa. This style of illustrations adds an authenticity to descriptions of the cat. The book is also told in the Arabic dialect of Chad so that the very people who helped to create the idea for this book could read it.

  • Honor and Celebrate Diversity as well as the Common Bonds of Humanity

This book shows how all the characters have different views of the world yet they all live in the same world. Also, the cat interacts with all the different animals so it shows that even though we may live in different areas we may at some point in our journey meet and interact with those different from us. However, we all have the common bond of living on Earth and should treat each other with respect.

  • Invites reflection, critical analysis, and response

Calabash cat invites people to think about the world around them and the journeys and experiences they have. Students can reflect on where they live and how it shapes their view of the world at large. It also makes students analyze how others may see the world. Students can think about how we interact with other cultures and how we may need to change how we interact with other cultures. It really makes students look at multiculturalism in today's society.

Calabash Cat Lesson Idea

Grade Level: 1st

CCSS 1.RL.9 Compare and Contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in a story.

Objective: Students will compare two characters experiences to explain why there thought processes are different

Lesson Procedure:

  • The teacher will introduce the book Calabash Cat and His Amazing Journey. The teacher will take a picture walk with the students and ask questions about the characters and have the students make predictions about the characters.
  • Explain to the students why the illustrations look like carvings and provide some background information about Calabash art. This will help the students understand about multiculturalism in the book.
  • Tell the students to be watching for different characters and their stories as they read. The students should be looking for the characters experiences related to the end of the world. Also tell the students to raise both hands any time a new character is introduced. This will help the students stay focused and find all the characters in the story.
  • Read the book aloud pausing for students to raise hands and for you to ask questions. Some of the questions that could be asked are: Where does the story begin? What does Calabash Cat want to do? Where does the Horse think the world ends? Why does the Whale think the world ends with the ocean?
  • After reading the book the class should select two characters to compare using a Venn Diagram. The students can compare where the animals live, Where the animals think the end of the world is, what the animals look like, how the animals carry the cat. Then they should make another venn diagram with an elbow partner using two different characters. They should discuss with their partner why they think the animals are alike and why they are different. Then they should discuss why the animals all think the world ends in a different place. Then the class should come back together and discuss as a whole the different Venn Diagrams and how these characters experiences shape their thoughts about where the world ends.


Calabash cat by KrisHarland