Box Set of Seven Chapter books about Bad Kitty and friends, written and illustrated by Nick Bruel
All three of my children enjoyed these books in their early elementary ages (Grades 1 – 3). My first grader has recently been bringing them home from his school library. It took me back years ago when my middle school-ers were reading these books. They still will sit down and read them.
These books are a lot of fun for a parent to read to their child. While my 6-year-old would be able to read these on his own, they are fun to share. I love to make different voices for each character. Their personalities are so different and the conversations fun. There are times I can have my son giggling for the entire book. These books take about 20 – 30 minutes for a fluent reader to finish.
One fundamental Christian principle that is taught at a very early age is how God in His wisdom and love freely created everything out of nothing. The central bible story about creation is in Genesis; however, this concept is expressed throughout the bible:
Neh 9:6 “… It is you, O Lord, you are the only one; you made the heavens, the highest heavens and all their host, the earth and all that is upon it, the seas and all that is in them. To all of them you give life, and the heavenly hosts bow down before you.”
2 Mc 7:28 “I be you, child, to look at the heavens and the earth and see all that is in them; then you will know that God did not make them out of existing things …”
Heb 11:3 By faith we understand that the universe was ordered by the word of God, so that what is visible came into being through the invisible.
Rev 4:11 “For you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”
It is important to remember that God created everything with a proper order (Wis 11:20). Humans were created in the “image of God” (Gen 1:26) allowing us a personal relationship with God and an understanding about the goodness of creation (Gen 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 31). This understanding comes with great responsibility:
CCC 373 (Emphasis added by me): In God’s plan man and woman have the vocation of “subduing” the earth as stewards of God. This sovereignty is not to be an arbitrary and destructive domination. God calls man and woman, made in the image of the Creator “who loves everything that exists,” to share in his providence toward other creatures; hence their responsibility for the world God has entrusted to them.
It is such a blessing to be a part of God’s creation and to share the “solidarity among all creatures” due to having the same Creator (CCC 344). “Creatures exist only in dependence on each other, to complete each other, in the service of each other” (CCC 340).
A family can increase their joy and love by adding pets to the family (we have two dogs and four fish!). Humans must treat animals with kindness (CCC 2416), and we can love our pets, however, “one should not direct to them the affection due only to persons” (CCC 2418). There are a lot of saints who have shown great love for all of God’s creation, such as the patron saint of ecology and animals: St. Francis of Assisi.
These books consist of a family with a cat, a dog, and a baby. There are also many reoccurring characters of other dogs and cats as well as Uncle Murray. The title of these books is Bad Kitty because the cat is portrayed as being “bad.” Really the cat only has a VERY bad attitude and pretty much rules the house (which is why I started with the order of creation as the cat in that house is the boss!).
Most of the books have a hidden theme of self-giving and kindness. Many times these actions of kindness, caring, and thoughtfulness are not initially apparent throughout the story. Sometimes you have to look at the illustrations to see these actions. At the end of each book, the kind/good acts are always brought into light. Maybe Bad Kitty and the other characters take Mathew 6:1-4 to heart:
Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
It is important to reach out and help others, especially those in our family. Many times for God’s love and will to be done, He needs our co-operation.
CCC 306 God is the sovereign master of his plan. But to carry it out, he also makes use of his creatures’ co-operation. This use is not a sign of weakness, but rather a token of almighty God’s greatness and goodness. For God grants his creatures not only their existence, but also the dignity of acting on their own, of being causes and principles for each other, and thus of co-operating in the accomplishment of his plan.