The Calabash Cat

& His Amazing Journey

Cindy Zara, Section C, March 4th, 2013

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

Book Information

Author & Illustrator: James Rumford

Genre: Fiction- Western Animal

Theme: Animals, Geography, Travel

Awards: Gold Award and Charlotte Zolotow Honor Book

About the Author

James Rumford began writing and illustrating at the age of 8. He would draw and write to make his own books in his free him. James Rumford has many passions. All of those passions are reflected in his work. Some of his passions include:

  • Foreign Languages
  • Calligraphy
  • Traveling to new places

James Rumford created a theme that all of his books revolve around the idea of:

"The world is as big as you want to make it"


The illustrations in the book are created using black ink which Rumford then fills the objects with geometric shapes that represent the culture of the people of Chad.

Culture Criteria

  • Rich in Cultural Details
  • Demonstrate Unique Language
  • Meet generally accepted criteria of quality of the genre in which it is written.


Audio Recording on Calabash Cat by Cmzgs

Literacy Connection

Grade Level: 2nd Grade

Standard: RL.2.2 Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson or moral.

Objective: Student will be able to recognize from the text a message, moral and lesson.

  • Because this book is based on the culture of Chad, I think it is important for my students to know that literacy is relevant everywhere in the world. But there are different languages which are shown on the opposite page in the book.
  • After reading the book to the students I will ask how far each student as ever traveled. Just because you have not seen other areas of the world does that mean they don't exist? That is what the Calabash Cat is trying to figure out in the book. I will explain how this is the moral of the story. The moral of the story is what you take away from the book. Also it is what you learned from the book.
  • I will have the kids go to the library and find a book to read. Then they will read the book and write one paragraph about what they think the moral of the story is.