That Cat Can’t Stay

Written by Thad Krasnesky
Illustrated by David Parkins

Cats. You either love ’em or hate ’em. But what happens when Mom loves cats and Dad detests them? In That Cat Can’t Stay, Mom keeps adopting stray cats while Dad’s objections get more and more absurd:

“Mom found a little calico. / Dad said, That thing has got to go. There’s no use begging. Don’t say please. / I don’t like cats. They scratch my knees. They carry fleas. They make me sneeze. / They’re always getting stuck in trees. I want it gone. Send it away. / I’m telling you, that cat can’t stay.”

Clever Mom convinces Dad to let each cat stay for a short time, and once they’re comfy in the house, they never leave. One stray, then two, then three, and Dad is at his wit’s end. When stray cat number five moves in, Dad finally takes a surprising stand. 

Dog-lovers, cat-lovers, and even cat-haters, will love this funny, heart-warming book.

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  • Bank Street Best Books for Children, 2011
  • Smithsonian Notable Books for Children, 2010
  • Storytelling World Award Honor Title, 2011
  • Cat Writers’ Association Muse Medallion Winner
  • World’s Best Litter-ary Award Winner
  • Wanda Gág Best Read Aloud Book Award Honor Book, 2011
  • Delaware Diamond Award list, 2011-12
  • Illinois Monarch K-3 Readers’ Choice Award list, 2012-13
  • Nebraska Golden Sower Award list, 2012-13
  • NY State Charlotte Award list, 2011-12
  • Society of School Librarians International Honor Book, 2010
  • an NSW Premier Reading Challenge Book in Australia
  • 1st grade Read-Aloud Choice, 25th Annual Read-Aloud Day, Bridgeport, CT


From Judith Viorst, renowned children’s book author:
Thanks for letting me see That Cat Can’t Stay. It’s an absolutely adorable book- and exactly how the Viorsts once wound up with four cats. 

From Bank Street Best Books for Children 2011 
Mom keeps finding stray cats and bringing them home, to Dad’s dismay. Then one day Dad visits the pound. Energetic, cartoon-like illustrations. 

From Wanda Gag Read Aloud Honor Book 2011 
In a comic rhyming text, the narrator tells the tale of how five cats and eventually one dog are added to a family. Mom brings home stray cat after stray cat and Dad firmly replies: “That creature cannot stay./There’s no use begging./Don’t say please./I don’t like cats. They scratch my knees./And I don’t want to have to shout,/so kindly put/that cat-thing out.” While Mom pretends to comply, she knows just how to manipulate soft-hearted Dad…. The young son and daughter witness each encounter and make the cats their own, but it is Dad that the cats prefer. Each scenario is funnier than the last with Dad ranting and raving but always relenting. Finally, Dad gets just what he wants—a sad and lonely pup he found at the pound. The book concludes with a funny family portrait, including five cats, and one dog. The cartoon style, pen and ink and watercolor illustrations are at the heart of this comedy. The exaggerated facial expressions, especially those of Dad, are laugh-out-loud funny. One reader commented how the humorous vignettes of the Dad, proclaiming why he doesn’t want another cat, kept the children entertained. Students from age four through eight greatly enjoyed this book. One second grade teacher called the book “brilliant” and said her students “loved it.” Children moved closer as the book was read and enjoyed repeating the refrain. 

From Smithsonian Notable Books for Children 2010 
There’s really no point in putting your foot down when the entire household is bent on taking in just one more stray. This droll tribute to dads who are softies at heart is sure to become a family favorite.” 

From School Library Journal 
This book expertly combines a comic, rhyming text with hilarious cartoon illustrations to create a completely enjoyable romp. Poor Dad is no match for clever Mom, a cat lover who manages to finagle not one, not two, not three, but FOUR cats into the household. One by one she brings them home and uses guile to convince her husband to keep them, just for a while. Each time he objects with a long-winded diatribe about why the cat can’t stay, and still she finds a way to tug at his conscience. (“‘You’re right again,’ Mom said to Dad, ‘and I won’t cry or get too sad, just thinking of this little cat and how a car might squish her flat.’”) Of course, the kids get into the act, putting on their cute little pouty faces that silently beg “pleeeease.” The text reads smoothly throughout and is peppered with wonderfully expressive words such as “Vamoose!” and “scrounge.” Still, the book wouldn’t be as good without the large cartoon watercolor and ink illustrations that simply beg to be pored over for every comical detail. Of particular note are Dad’s priceless facial expressions that transform from stern to defeated in a few short steps. With a repetitive refrain that makes for a great read-aloud, this book is the cat’s meow for children young and old. –Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library 

From Publishers Weekly
In this light comedy, the creators of I Always, ALWAYS Get My Way again spotlight family dynamics. Energetic rhymed couplets relay how Mom and kids repeatedly bring home stray cats, driving Dad crazy. With each new arrival, he launches into a chorus of reasons why he doesn’t like cats (“They scratch my knees./ They carry fleas./ They make me sneeze./ They’re always getting stuck in trees”) and decrees that the stray must go. After tactically agreeing with her husband, manipulative Mom describes what dreadful fate will befall the feline if they don’t take it in, and Dad reluctantly relents, still insisting, futilely, “that cat can’t stay.” Parkins’s high spirited cartoons depict animals and humans with amusingly exaggerated facial expressions, especially the exasperated father who, with his multiple tantrums and ever-present shorts and sneakers, far more resembles an overgrown toddler than a patriarch. While the verse veers into doggerel territory in its bounciness, the buffoonlike father’s antics should prove kid-pleasing. 

From Children’s Literature
Mom and the kids love cats, but Dad is dead set against them. In clever rhymed couplets, Dad makes his opposition clear…. Parkins visualizes this comic opera with cartoon-like pen and ink and watercolor illustrations of cartoon-like characters displaying exaggerated behavior. Dad in particular is portrayed in lively vignettes acting out his aversions to each new arrival. And, of course, each cat has a way of making itself welcome. You do not have to love cats to enjoy this romp.” –Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz 

From Horn Book 
Though Dad complains vehemently every time Mom brings home a stray cat, she convinces him to keep each homeless feline: “His leg is broken. He can’t walk. He’s easy pickings for a hawk.” Five cats later, Dad puts his foot down–and adopts a dog. The rollicking rhyming tale with its comical pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations is an enjoyable read-aloud for pet lovers. 

From Library Media Connection
This charming rhythmic tale is sure to delight young and old. Poor dad is surrounded by a stray-cat collecting family. He finds all sorts of excuses to get rid of the pathetic cats, but always caves in. It begins with just one soaking wet kitty, and ends with a houseful of five. Dejected dad leaves the happy clan for a walk and returns with a smile and a dog. Youngsters will love the choral reading of dad’s anti-cat mantra. Adorable pen and ink and watercolor illustrations complete the story.  Recommended. Colleen D. Sadowski-Bocka, Library Media Specialist, Nathaniel Rochester Community School, Rochester, New York 

From Edwards Book Club 
My three year old was really excited to open the box to see the surprise hiding inside… her amazement it was a book about Cats (something she holds very dear to her heart, seeing how we have a 22lb cat at home named Rubberlips). As soon as she took the book out of the box she wanted to read it. We climbed into a comfy chair with her stuffed toy “puppy” and started the The Cat Can’t Stay adventure. She liked looking at the pictures and started to give the cats names that were quite funny: one was named Bushy, one was floppy and one was slippery and on it went. Upon reading the book twice she had already picked up some of the rhythm of the book and she could tell me the next words to come, thanks to the familiar words of the book. We reread the book again the next day and she could tell me a lot of the words again and she gave the grey kitten the name of “Smoke”; I am sure the calico will get a name at the next reading. Thanks so much for the chance to review the book and for the opportunity to smile at the funny antics of my daughter yet again. 

From Practically Paradise 
That Cat Can’t Stay is on my list of fun rhyming read-alouds for elementary students. I love sharing this title, but never stopped to think about it in context of rescue animals until I started collecting books about rescues and helping find homes for animals…. One of the best parts of this book is finding all the cat-aspects in the illustrations. 

From  2nd Grade Reading 
The charming and whimsical illustrations are a perfect companion to the rhyming text.  Dad is slightly overweight, wears huge running shoes and has messy red hair.  Here’s a dad kids can relate to.  Perfect for reading aloud, one group literacy activity for students is for them to imagine the other characters bringing home different animals and chant the father’s repeated objections: “I’m sure EVERYONE agrees: we can’t have ANY more of these!” The reading level is a comfortable one for second graders and the back and forth dialogue would make this a good selection for reader’s theater. 

From Puget Sound Council for Reviewing Children’s Media 
Rating: Recommended 
Poor Dad. He doesn’t like cats. Really. He has a list of reasons why. But his wife and children keep bringing home first one, then another. Each time dad puts his foot down, but to no avail. The cats stay. This is a funny book with a riotous rhyming text and illustrations by David Parkins that seem to leap right off the glossy white pages in visual hyperbole. It makes a great read-aloud. In fact, once you’ve read it, you’ll long for the chance to share it orally. Even if you don’t like cats this book will tickle you. I’m thinking it’s a WCCPBA [Washing Children’s Choice Picture Book Award] nominee in 2 years. Reviewed by Teresa Bateman, Federal Way Library 

From Tolivers to Texas 
Cat lovers? Dog lovers? Regardless of what category you and your kids fall into, That Cat Can’t Stay is a delightful book your whole family will love. Author, Thad Krasnesky, wrote a very creative plot for this picture book – and it’s one with which many families will relate. When we first read the book, my kids were nearly rolling on the floor laughing because the dad in the story sounds exactly like their dad…. If you know kids – and you know how tough on the outside, soft on the inside dads can be – you can imagine how it develops – and how the family pet population grows. Dad’s expressions and excuses grow too and Mom’s responses become even more clever as the book progresses. The final page delivers a hilarious resolution that will make everyone smile. Cartoon-like illustrations by David Parkins do a marvelous job of showing the wonderful expressions on the family’s faces – as well as the cats.” 

From Grandma Miller’s Perfect Picture Book Friday 
That Cat Can’t Stay has a funny, rhyming text with repetition in dad’s angst-filled complaints. The story is great for building reading and listening skills as well as being just plain fun to read.  My 2 and 3 year old granddaughters love the story and can finish some of the lines as well as even quote sections.  The illustrations are whimsical and detailed even adding to the story as the cats become part of the family photo gallery.  Part of the fun we have is spotting all the catly details in the art. 

From Sacramento Book Review and San Francisco Book Review 
That Cat Can’t Stay is a joy to read aloud. Thad Krasnesky begins with a situation familiar to many. Mom finds a cat in need of a home, but Dad forbids keeping the cat. Mom immediately sets about releasing the cat into the outdoors, while noting the rainy weather conditions facing the poor feline. Dad relents but only till the rain stops. By then, however, the kitty is a part of the family. This cycle repeats four more times as the family’s collection of kitties grows. In each instance, Dad’s objections become longer and funnier. Justice prevails, however, when a trip to the pound results in one final addition: a dog for Dad. The story concludes with the family “happy to discover. . . that Daddy is a dog lover!” Krasnesky tells his tale with rhymes and a delightful rhythm that rolls off the tongue, while David Parkins’ ink and watercolor illustrations of Dad mimicking various feline imperfections are perfectly hysterical. If your family is like mine, That Cat Can’t Stay will quickly become a favorite to be read again and again. 

From Books in the Spotlight 
That Cat Can’t Stay wonderfully weaves humor, rhyming text, and funny illustrations to create a wonderful reading experience. Poor Dad is not a cat person nor is he a match for clever Mom, a cat lover who manages to finagle not one, not two, not three, but FOUR cats into the household. One by one she brings them home and uses different tactics to convince her husband to keep them. Each time Dad goes through a very long explanation of why the can’t stay, but Mom is able to come with a story of all the horrible things that could happen to the kitty if he/she aren’t looked after, which makes him feel guilty. I think what makes this book great are the large, exaggerated illustrations, especially of Dad’s long diatribe. The watercolor illustrations gives the book a warm, fuzzy feeling, and the ending is just priceless! A great read for pet and non-pet lovers. 

…The lively rhyme and comic illustrations are sure to make readers giggle, and the poor, kind-hearted dad certainly deserves the happy ending he gets. David Parkins does a wonderful job of creating engaging expressions for both cats and people. …embrace the fluff. 

From Baltimore’s Child 
He may rant and rave, but ultimately this softhearted dad lets the strays stay. David Parkins’ hilariously detailed pictures add to the fun and the surprise ending. 

From Books For Kids 
Thad Krasnesky’s bouncy rhyming couplets and David Perkins’ clever cartoon illustrations make That Cat Can’t Stay a pleasure to read aloud and to hear. Kids will giggle at Mom’s clever guilt tripping of the bossy but soft-hearted dad, and will quickly pick up on his plaintive refrain as each sad kitty’s case is pleaded before him. Dog lovers, cat lovers, and even (horrors!) cat shunners will find something to laugh at in this one. 

From the Tuscon Citizen’s Shelf Life 
What happens when a mom loves cats but dad doesn’t?  When mom convinced dad to let each cat stay for a short time, the feline population soon expands to several.  With hilarious ink and watercolor illustrations, The Cat Can’t Stay purr-fectly captures the resourcefulness, and compromises of a pet-loving family.  It is recommended for young readers ages 4-9.  Kranesky is a U.S. Army major and Parkins, a Canadian-based artist, is the illustrator of more than 80 books and anthologies.–Larry Cox 

From Waking Brain Cells, the blog of the Menasha Library 
Krasnesky’s rhyming text is very funny with a great rollicking flow to it. It begs to be read aloud, especially Dad’s litany of reasons he doesn’t like cats, which are sure to have children giggling since they all rhyme with one another: “They eat my cheese.  They hairball wheeze. Their licking makes my stomach quease.”  Parkins’ art adds a lot to the story, ensuring that the reader is charmed by the cats thanks to their friendly furriness.  He uses white space with skill, changing the illustrations for Dad’s litany of cat complaints to make each one a bit more frenzied and dynamic. Recommended for cat storytimes. This is a purr-fect readaloud for any family that finds that they too seem to collect animals. I’d even recommend it happily to dog lovers. 

From Muddy Puddle Musings 
Rating: 5/5 End papers: blue with cat scratches, perhaps? Hard to say! In this rollicking, rhyming story, a cat-hating dad gets saddled with first one, then two…three…four…FIVE cats…that all come to the family in different ways. Cute, cute, cute. The illustrations – watercolor over pen and ink – are a riot, especially the dad, a plump guy who always wears short and horizontally striped short sleeved shirts. And the cats. Oh, yeah. This one’s a real winner. I want to read it aloud – to my class, to my grandkids, to my friends…. What a great picture book to read along with Hate That Cat (Creech).–Chris, 4th grade Literature teacher, southern Arizona. 

From Bureau County Republica
That Cat Can’t Stay is the reaction of many an adult when a child brings home a stray kitty. In the picture book by this title, it’s an adult who brings the stray home: Mom is a cat lover and Dad is not. The children are passive observers in the family drama, as Mom deftly manipulates Dad into accepting not just one but a series of homeless felines. Although the amusing cumulative tale is told in the first person by one of the children, the narrative “I” is not identified until roughly 20 pages into the book — and then only by the artwork, not the text. The illustrations add to the playful, rhymed text. The cartoon-style characters show real personality and emotion. Dad’s tantrums upon the arrival of each new cat are particularly effective, as he repeatedly acts out “I don’t like cats. They scratch my knees. They carry fleas. They make me sneeze. They’re always getting stuck in trees. They eat my cheese. They hairball-wheeze. Their licking makes my stomach quease. I’m sure that everyone agrees: We can’t have any more of these!” Cat-haters and cat- lovers alike will enjoy the goofy humor of both text and art. Like snowflakes, cats are individually unique, possessing the ability to claim cozy spots on sofas — and in people’s hearts. These two distinctive books are certain to charm their way into “favorite” status as bedtime or story time tales, each in its own fashion.–Paula Morrow 

From A Patchwork of Books 
It’s mom and the kids vs. dad! Mom keeps adopting stray cats, much to the kids’ delight, and Dad keeps saying no with sillier and sillier reasons each time. The text rhymes extremely well, flowing nicely and repeating the perfect parts over and over again. Your kids will probably be repeating it back to you by the end. David Parkins’ illustrations were an excellent fit for the silly story, making me chuckle even more along the way. Great facial expressions on all, including the animals! Read this one out loud to your kids or use it for storytime. Great read aloud! Overall rating: 5 out of 5. Flashlight Press has impressed me again!–Amanda Snow 

From LANE ESD Review 
This delightful rhyming tale is as charming as it is hilarious. Dad is losing his battle with his wife and family to stop adopting stray cats that clearly love him. The illustrations portray happy cats sitting on Dad’s lap, sharing his chair and utterly adoring him. The illustrations are whimsical and laugh-out-loud funny. The surprise ending is the icing on the cake. This book is a wonderful read-aloud and perfect for families who have ever adopted a stray animal. The hardback binding is sturdy and will hold up for a long time with normal use. 

From Bookfoolery and Babble 
That Cat Can’t Stay begins on a rainy day. The mother of the narrator’s family stands in a raincoat, holding a sad-looking cat. It’s a stray and Dad doesn’t like cats, so he says, “That creature cannot stay. There’s no use begging. Don’t say please. I don’t like cats. They scratch my knees. And I don’t want to have to shout, so kindly put that cat-thing out.” Mom is tricky, though. She tells Dad she’ll just put that cat back outside in the rain and hail, no matter how drenched he’s going to get and Dad says, “Well . . . “ So begins the delightful rhyming tale of how one little family with three children adopts 4 full-grown cats in need; and, then the cat loving narrator (a daughter in pigtails) brings home a kitten in the hood of her jacket. I loved this book so much that I forced my husband to listen to it and turned the book around to show off the illustrations as if I was reading to a class of kindergarteners. That Cat Can’t Stay is one of the cutest children’s books I’ve ever had the pleasure to review. The rhyme is repetitive and catchy, the illustrations are expressive and often hilarious (the looks on those cats’ faces are a hoot — not to mention Dad, who turns out to be a softie). The book even has a funny twist when, after adopting 5 cats, the father goes to the pound and brings home a dog. 
Story in rhyme: 5/5 – Clever, charming, rhythmic and funny. 
Illustrations: 5/5 – Absolutely perfect. 
The entire family and all of the cats are colorful and so expressive you can’t help but smile. This is such a cheery, satisfying book that I’ve found myself wishing I had small children around whenever I read it. 

From Diary of a Mother blog 
Cat lover, Dog Lover -Which are You? Thad Krasnesky has done it again. With his latest children’s book, That Cat Can’t Stay, he addresses a fundamental issue that has been the cause of marital warfare. Are you a cat or dog lover? With sharp wit and lovely rhyming prose, Thad investigates how a wife plucks the compassionate heart of her dear husband by bringing home strays. The surprise ending will delight you. A must-read for those of you who live with Dr. Doolittle! Tempted? You’ll have to wait until April 2010 to find out what happens, but I promise you Thad won’t let you down! –Christine Hohlbaum 

From Barbara Gruener, School Counselor, Friendswood, TX 
Flashlight Press’ newest illustrated picture book, 
That Cat Can’t Stay, by Thad Krasnesky, is a delightful read-aloud that could very well have you giggling all the way to the pound to adopt a cat of your own. Using reverse psychology, Mom cleverly convinces Dad to allow a stray cat (or four?) to stay for a spell. But how many felines can one family feasibly find? Reminiscent of the whimsical works by Dr. Seuss, this book’s lyrical style will undoubtedly capture and engage its little listeners; the repetitious rhyme will find them as curious as a cat to see how this tale ends. Whether you like the little fur-balls or not, the PURRfectly eye-catching, authentic illustrations by David Parkins will endear themselves as they bring this CATchy story to life. 

When Mom brings home a stray cat, Dad is emphatic: they are not keeping it. Mom, who could win an award for diplomacy, agrees with her husband, adding a comment about the fate of the poor kitty if left outside in the rain. Dad relents, but insists the feline be gone when the weather improves.  Needless to say, the cat becomes part of the household. This scene repeats itself again and again, with Dad’s protests becoming longer and more comical, and each time a new feline joins the family (as attested by a picture showing a home scene with the appropriate number of cats). Finally, in a surprising, laugh-out-loud conclusion, Dad has his say about the pet situation. Thad Krasnesky’s wacky story begs to be read aloud. Kids will giggle at the refrain, and might begin chanting it along with the reader. David Parkins’ comic, expressive illustrations are a perfect match for the lighthearted tone of the tale.That Cat Can’t Stay joins a long line of Flashlight Press success stories. A winner all around. 

From Large Print Reviews 
Dad has a problem. He simply doesn’t like cats. But what is he to do when Mom brings home a poor, pitiful stray – throw him out in the rain? Of course not, Dad consents, the cat can stay, but only until the rain goes away. As you might guess, by that time, the cat is part of the family and dad no longer has a say. But what happens when it happens again, and again? Find out in this delightful children’s story entitled simply, That Cat Can’t Stay. This book was written by Thad Krasnesky, the author of I Always, Always Get My Way and an ex-combat officer who served in Iraq and who taught at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. As well, it is full of whimsical and colorful illustrations created by David Parkins. The story is told in a rhyme-like narrative that is great fun to read aloud. It is especially fun, from an adult’s perspective, to read the ‘Dad’ as he tries and tries to keep more cats from taking over his home – he gets terribly upset, but in the end, he’s just an old softy and there’s never any doubt that Mom and the kids will have their way – and their cats – no matter how much Dad might protest! Not only is this a great book to read aloud to pre-readers, it is a great book for new readers to practice their reading skills. Although not touted as such, That Cat Can’t Stay is technically a large print book. The text is printed in an approximately 18-point font that is ideal for those readers who need large print. For those who may find themselves reading this book to their youngsters after a hard day at work, or perhaps in a dim light, you’ll appreciate just how much the larger print size helps minimize any eye strain you might otherwise experience! All in all, That Cat Can’t Stay is simply an all-around fun book that will not only delight young and pre-readers, but which is also a book that adults will find a pleasure to read – even when you’re on your twentieth read through! –Review by Anna Dogole 

From Colorado Parent magazine 
I just received That Cat Can’t Stay [and] I loved it. My husband and I love and both grew up with cats and dogs, but currently only have one cat. The illustrations captured the true character of cats in all their leg-rubbing, lap-cuddling, playful glory. Their innocent but sneaky knowing faces are classic feline. Dad’s rants are fun to read and the story showed the addictive quality of cats so well. They always seem to sneak into your heart and somehow there’s always room for one more! It made me want to run out and expand our family!–Deborah

From Foreword Reviews 
A winning tale, in verse, about a family that keeps finding cats that need a home, and a tough-talking dad whose heart wins out every time. As the number of cats in the family keeps rising, the repetition and expansion of Dad’s rant gets funnier and funnier, and begs for chanting in unison, louder and louder, by reader and listeners. The illustrations add to the humor while making it clear that everyone, including Dad, has a lot of love to give and room for one more soul. From Midwest Book Review That Cat Can’t Stay is a funny, rollicking rhyming tale of a man who is losing his battle with his wife and family to stop adopting adorable stray cats who clearly love him and are happy and comfortable staying in his home. His clever wife manages to agree completely with his every objection to each new cat and by the time she has finished agreeing, he has somehow allowed the cat to move in and make himself at home! The finale is cute and hides a good surprise. That Cat Can’t Stay will become a favorite of any family that includes cat lovers, cat haters, dog lovers, and 4-8-year old kids. —Mock, Editor, 

From OC Family Read blog 
Got someone in your family who’s not a kitty fan? We have a cat – she’s a mess. She gets her fur all over me, begs me incessantly for food and refuses to let me sleep in on the weekends. She drives me nuts. She is not as cute as she looks. But, my boyfriend loves her. So … I put up with it. And, when I saw yet another cat book sitting in my “review these” pile, I thought: “You’ve got to be kidding me. Another cat book?” But, I’ve got an open mind, so I picked it up and began reading. Turns out, the book’s quite funny – for cat AND dog lovers. “That Cat Can’t Stay,” which is written by Thad Krasnesky and illustrated by David Parkins, follows a family who just seems to love cats – except for Dad, who wants to “put that cat-thing out.” (My thoughts exactly.) This is a really wacky, fun story. Mom (and her children, we find out) loves to bring home stray cats. By the end of the story there’s a good deal of cats, filling up the house, sitting on Dad’s favorite chair, in the kitchen, and Dad sure does like to complain! One of my favorite illustrations follows Dad’s complaints in a graphic-novel-type format: “There’s no use begging. Don’t say please. I don’t like cats. They scratch my knees. They make me sneeze. They carry fleas.” And so on – it’s fun to read aloud, too, with the rhyme scheme on the page, as well as a few others. There’s quite a twist in the end, too – it’ll make the dog lover in your family enjoy the book even more than before. Krasnesky and Parkins have created a beautifully illustrated and inventive tale that will bring your family together – with the cat OR dog – for a laugh and a smile. –Kristen Schott 

From the Kiddle CRITers and Donna O’Donnell Figurski 
I can totally understand the father in That Cat Can’t Stay. That would be my view too. I am not a cat lover. I do admit, however, that the cats were cute … on paper … within the confines of the pages of this book, but no cats for me … thank you. No dogs for that matter either or rabbits or mice or birds. Well, I did have a bird when I was a child and a turtle, too, but those days are over. I admired Mom’s wily and crafty ways as she perfected her skill of wrapping Dad around her finger. That mom tugged on his heartstrings. How could Dad possible put a cat out in the rain? And that poor calico – it was going to starve to death, wasn’t it? Surely, Dad couldn’t send it to the hereafter on an empty stomach. And anyone would help a cat that was hit by a car … like the ginger kitty was. Even I would do that. So what was Dad supposed to do? Of course, he did what any good dad would … he allowed the cats to stay until the rain stopped, until the kitty was properly fed, and until ginger kitty’s leg mended. That Mom … she was a clever one! She sure was! She knew what she was doing. And those cats just stayed and stayed and stayed even though they scratched Dad’s knees, carried fleas, and ate his cheese. Poor Dad! Thad Krasnesky and David Parkins team up to make a very funny book, which will have children cheering Mom on. Kids will have fun joining in on the repetitive, rhyming parts, too. And they just might learn a little about using reverse psychology … on their own parents. 

From the Mouths of Kiddle Critters:
“There’s a family and Mom found a cat,” said Tala. “It was a broken cat,” said Caden. “Then she found one cat in the rain,” said Daisy. “And Dad said, ‘Well, we’ll let that cat stay, but not for long,’” explained Juliana. “Mom was bringing cats back every single day,” said Caden. “But Dad did not like cats,” said Abby. “They carry fleas,” said Caden sticking up for Dad. “And they scratch his knees,” explained Brayden. Juliana nodded. “Dad probably got hurt from cats,” she said. “Then Mom would rescue another cat and Dad would say, ‘That cat can’t stay, but Mom brought the cat home anyway,’” said Juliana. “Maybe she just took the cats because she had no one to talk to,” said Lucy. Callie shook her head.  “What Mom really wanted was to have a cat – lots of them,” said Callie. “But I bet she was just making Dad crazy for all the cats she was finding and saving,” she added with a giggle. “Dad always said, “Well, we’ll let that cat stay, but not for long,” said Juliana. “But … Dad, said, “Well!” said Diego as he drew out the word to sound like this, w-e-e-e-e-l-l-l. (And then the cats always stayed.) “Mom was trying to trick Dad to keep the cats – as many as she could find. She would give him a reason so she could keep the cat, but he said, ‘No’ and she still kept them,” said Tala. Brayden nodded, “Mom got all the cats by using psychology,” he said. “Reverse psychology,” proclaimed Daisy. “Reverse Psychology is like … you can trick someone,” said Tala. “To get what you want,” said Juliana. “There was a lot of reverse psychology in this book.” “I think the Mom was pretty smart,” said Mikaela.  “She kept going with what the father said so he would feel guilty and then she could keep the cat,” she explained. “Mom was trying to convince Dad,” said Lucy. Caden shook his head. “But Dad wants the cats outside,” he said. “I like how the mother uses reverse psychology to get what she wants,” said Juliana. “The mother is really, really good at doing that.” “I wish my mom would do reverse psychology … on my dad,” said Lucy with a smile and a giggle. 

From A Book and a Garden blog 
…Thad Krasnesky’s wacky story begs to be read aloud. Kids will giggle at the refrain, and might begin chanting it along with the reader.  David Parkins’ comic, expressive illustrations are a perfect match for the lighthearted tone of the tale.  That Cat Can’t Stay joins a long line of Flashlight Press success stories.  A winner all around.


About the Creators

Thad, krasnesky, pet adoption, cats, family, compromise, dog, giving in, tolerance, compromise, giving in, tolerance, pets, cat, compassion, dad, daddy, responsibility, caring, that, cat, can't, stayThad Krasnesky is the author of I Always, ALWAYS Get My Way, That Cat Can’t Stay, and Pterodactyl Show and Tell. Thad is a writer of children’s stories trapped in the body of an Army major. He served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was an instructor at the U. S. Military Academy at West Point. He enjoys volunteering with children and running marathons, and lives in Lansing, Kansas, with his wife and two daughters.



david, parkins, pet adoption, cats, family, compromise, dog, giving in, tolerance, compromise, giving in, tolerance, pets, cat, compassion, dad, daddy, responsibility, caring, that, cat, can't, stay

David Parkins is the illustrator of I Always, ALWAYS Get My Way and That Cat Can’t Stay, written by Thad Krasnesky. David has been an illustrator since he left art college in 1978. He spent several years at the beginning of his career producing textbook illustrations for educational publishers. He also worked for the publishers of the British children’s comic book, The Beano, an institution in the UK. Until recently, David drew their main character, Dennis the Menace (not to be confused with the American character of the same name, although they are almost exact contemporaries). In addition, David has done political cartoons and editorial illustrations for The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, Nature, and the Times Educational Supplement. In his nearly 40-year career, David has illustrated scores of books, poetry anthologies, and covers. David moved from Lincoln, England, to Lansdowne in Ontario, Canada, where he lives with his wife and daughter, and their cats. 
You can find out more about David and his work on his website

Book Details

ISBN: HC 9780979974656  ePDF 9781936261741  ePUB 9781936261758  KF8 9781936261765  Audiobook 9781947277977  Read-along Audio 9781947277861
Print Length:
32 Full Color Pages
Publication Date:
April 2010
Age Group:
Lexile Measure:
Word Count:
Foreign Rights:

pet adoption, cats, family, compromise, dog, giving in, tolerance, compromise, giving in, tolerance, pets, cat, compassion, dad, daddy, responsibility, caring, that, cat, can't, stay, chinese

Activity Guides & More

THEMES: pet adoption, cats, family, compromise

Leveling Information

Lexile Measurements provided by Metametrics. Guided Reading Levels provided by Marla Conn using Fountas and Pinnel Guided Reading Text Characteristics.

Lexile Display: 510L

Word Count: 840

MSL: 7

MLF: 3.632

Decoding Display: Low

Semantic Display: High

Syntactic Display: High

Structure Display: Very High 

Guided Reading Level: K

Grade Level Equivalent: 2

Interest Level by Grade: Pre-K-5

Educational Description: Picture book, realistic fiction

Story Elements: setting, plot and character development, Point of view, child, lyrical text, rhythm and rhyme, humorous tone, repeated lines, illustrations enhance meaning and tone

Comprehension Strategies: identify cause and effect relationships, changes from beginning to end of the story, different points of view, predict outcomes, compare and contrast characters, make text-to-self connections

Themes: family, cats, animal rescue