The Broken Cat



Author/Illustrator: Lynne Rae Perkins

Publisher and Year: Greenwillow Books, 2002

Number of Pages: 30

Genre: Realistic Fiction

A young girl breaks her arm and it isn’t until she sees that it gets better, that she starts to feel better. As time passes, the young girl gets older and has a son. When her son’s cat breaks his leg, she reassures them both that it’ll get better.

This text could work well as a mirror for children who can identify with Frank. At a young age, a child’s best friend is typically their pet. There may be children who feel for Frank and his cat because they love their pet in the same way. Some children also look to pets for direction as to how to react to a situation. For example, when Frank sees that his cat is depressed about breaking his leg, he also gets depressed. When the cat starts to feel better emotionally about the situation, Frank follows. The only characters who appear in the story are Frank’s family, who are White. However, when Frank’s mom breaks her arm and the town welcomes her home, there don’t appear to be any non-White neighbors. There could be more diversity in this book. Also, typical of gender roles, the woman is a nurse and the male is the doctor.

Perceptually, the text adds to the images. The images are dependent on the text, as the illustrations are very basic so a reader could not take much from them alone. Structurally, many of the images in the beginning are in, what appear to be, faded bubbles. The beginning of the story is filled with memories of when Frank’s mom was a child and broke her arm, so the faded pictures may just be her faded memories. When the story comes back into the present, the images are no longer in bubbles. One picture of the cat is a real picture, as parts of the story are based on true events. Ideologically, this story brings to life the true relationship of a child and their pet. The book never mentions that Frank’s mother felt bad for having the cast because she was made fun of, she just felt that it inconvenienced her. In a way, that sheds light on the situation.