‘Katy No-Pocket’ (Emmy Payne, H.A. Rey) Children’s Book Review

Katy No-Pocket

Katy No-Pocket is the story of a kangaroo mother who was different from other mother kangaroos because she didn’t have a pocket to carry her little boy (named Freddy). This problem makes her sad, but she is determined to find the solution. She seeks advice from other animals and finally heads off to the City to buy a pocket. A kind man with an apron full of pockets gives her the solution she needs. Happily back home, Katy is now able to carry her little boy AND has enough pockets to carry all the other baby animals too.

One of my favorite parts of the story is when Katy visits the owl and asks for his advice. The whole interaction between the distraught Katy and the cranky owl cracks me up every time I read it out loud to my kids (making the voices, of course!).

Then all at once Katy Kangaroo stopped crying and looked at Freddy. “They do say that the owl knows almost everything…let’s ask him!” They found the owl asleep in an old dead tree, and he was cross because he didn’t want to be waked up in the middle of the day. But when he saw that Katy was so sad he came out, blinking and ruffling his feathers and said in a scratchy boice, “Well! Well! what is it? Speak up! And speak loundy. I’m deaf as a post.”

So Katy stood under the tree and screamed at him, “I’m a mother kangaroo and I haven’t a pocket to carry my child in. How shall I carry him? What shall I do?”

“How should I know?” said the owl. “They sell that sort of thing in the City, I believe. Now, kindly go away and let me sleep.”

“The City!” said Katy, and looked at Freddy with big, round eyes. “Of course, we’ll go to the City!”

My children and I read this story as part of the Before Five in a Row preschool program. I have to admit, the first time we read this book, it didn’t really appeal to me or my four-year-old. It has more words than the books we have been reading, plus the story line is a little bit long for us to follow. However, I took a different approach the second time we read the book, skipping some of the text and focusing on H.A. Rey’s marvelous illustrations.

The pictures in this book are excellent and can tell the story on their own. All of the faces are very expressive. On the page where Katy arrives in the busy city, my 4-year-old amazed me by asking, “Where is George?” I had not mentioned to him that H.A. Rey was the artist behind the Curious George books, but he actually made the connection on his own. The drawings on this page do look very similar to the ones in Curious George’s city. This experience taught me that young children really do pay a lot of attention to the illustrations and can even recognize familiar drawing styles. Katy No-Pocket‘s pictures definitely display the signature H.A. Rey style in color and form.

My son’s favorite part of the book was when the friendly man dumped out his apron pockets before giving it to Katy. All sorts of tools fall out and of course, my son loves to see and name the different tools.

This is a sweet story with a happy ending. It can be used to teach children good values and lessons about how we are all different, how we can ask for others’ advice when we have a problem, and how we can be kind and give to other people who need our help.

I’m glad that we gave this book a second chance. My children and I have read this book several times, and it is one we now enjoy reading.

Katy No-Pocket is available for purchase at Amazon in both soft cover and hard cover editions.

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