For this month's Hidden Gem, I discovered Little Cat's Luck by Marion Dane Bauer. This is a novel written in verse, which I found to be a fresh writing style that many students may not have experienced. It would be a great choice for poetry month in April! (This is a companion to her previous book, Little Dog, Lost, so if your class loves dogs that may be a better choice.)
This story is about Patches, a cat that is owned by a nice family with a big house. However, Patches has searched and searched for a special place all her own, but she just can't find it. One day, she finds a way out of the house and wanders the neighborhood looking for her special place. On her journey, she encounters the meanest dog in town, but she shows him who's boss! She isn't scared of any old dog and continues searching.
As the day goes on, Patches realizes that she is lost. She can't figure out how to get home nor has she found her special place. Just in the nick of time, she spots the perfect spot - but it happens to be in the meanest dog's house. However, that doesn't stop Patches.
How does the dog react to finding a cat in his house? And not just any cat, that annoying know-it-all cat! Let's just say that this book has a surprise ending. Students will learn that sometimes a person's bark is worse than his bite.
If you have a student that is mean in order to push people away, this story would be a great way to talk about why some people are mean without pointing fingers. The happy ending may also give your students some ideas.