A Cat and Dog Book for Kids on Friendship-
My Big Dog
by Janet Stevens & Susan Stevens Crummel 

This cat and dog book for kids can teach important aspects of making a friend and being a friend.  Friendship doesn't just magically happen; it takes acceptance and patience.

Merl, the cat, learns this important lesson.  Kids as well as adults will enjoy this fun read about an unlikely friendship between a cat and a dog.

It begins...

My name is Merl and I am a cat, 

a very special cat.

Inside my house, my PURR-R-R-R-fect house,

everything is MINE!

My Big Dog -  Summary of a friendship cat and dog book for kids

Merl, the cat, has a purr-r-r-r-fect life.  Everything in her home is hers and she doesn't have to share until her people bring home a puppy.

Merl tries to hide from the puppy, and when that doesn't work, she tries to get rid of him.  Finally, Merl decides she is the one who will have to leave.

In the long run, Merl decides there are worse things than being friends with a dog.  Besides, the dog likes her and wants her, and isn't that how friends make us feel?

What I love about this cat and dog book for kids....

  • Both colorful drawings and black & white photos make up the illustrations.
  • Merl learns a valuable lesson in appreciation and friendship.
  • Friends don't have to look the same or act the same to be friends.

How to Make the Most of the Read
(These are not meant to be done all at once though.)

Intellectual development 

  1. Sight Word Focus for beginning readers: choose one or two sight words to point out and every time you come to these, allow your beginning reader to participate in reading them. Example: my and puppy.  Change these up each reading to include more and more words.
  2. Real versus not real:  Contrast the colorful drawings with the real photo illustrations to spark discussion about what things in the book could realistically happen and which are just fantasy.
  3. Onomatopoeia (sound words) & adjectives:  This friendship book for kids is filled with a variety of "sound words," a perfect opportunity to introduce the concept of onomatopoeia.  Merl, also loves to use a variety of adjectives such as "A wiggly, noisy, slurpy, clumsy puppy!"

Emotional development

The need to be wanted is one of our greatest needs as humans.  Merl learns that this is better than having everything as hers alone.  Discuss how readers think Merl feels throughout the book and moves from grumpy cat to contented cat.

This cat and dog book for kids also sets the stage for discussing rejection and how it makes us as well as others feel.  Reaching out to others and including them not only helps them, but helps us feel better too.

Social development

You may have heard the old saying that to have a friend, you first have to be a friend.  Discuss whether the cat or the dog acted like a friend first.  Did that help them make a friend?

Dogs and cats are so different, but this points out that friends don't always have to look or act just like us.  Differences are good to have in friendships.

Physical development

Pretend play is always fun with books.  Call out either "be a cat" or "be a dog" and allow kids to use their imagination in the many ways they can act like each through sounds and actions.  Or make it like "Simon Says" and give instructions to "bark like a dog", "pretend to pet a cat", "show your claws like a cat", etc.

Spiritual development

The Bible talks a lot about friendship.  Some verses that go along well with this cat and dog book for kids include: 

  • Proverbs 27:9 - "The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense."
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:11 - "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."
  • Proverbs 17:17 - "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity."

It is special to have a friend. Friends are  to encourage and build each other up.  A friend should be faithful and true.

The best news though is that Jesus wants us to be a friend to us!

  • John 15:13-15 - "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you."

He made the first move; He laid down His life for us.  We become His friends by believing and trusting Him as our Lord and Savior.  We become His friend just as Abraham did.

  • James 2:23 - "And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend."

Friends are important in life; therefore, it is important to train children in how to be a good friend themselves.

Read Aloud of My Big Dog 
A Cat and Dog Book for Kids