I had no idea what to expect with the book Katy No-Pocket by Emmy Payne when we first checked it out at the library. I knew it was illustrated by H.A. Rey, the creator of another favorite of ours- the original Curious George. So I had a feeling this book would be amazing.
I didn’t get a chance to read it from cover to cover until we sat down for the beginning of our tot school week and opened it up together. We both instantly fell in love with the story of a mother kangaroo, Katy, who doesn’t have a pouch. Her poor joey, Freddy, has to hop along behind her everywhere they go.
The book is about her determined quest to solve this problem.
It’s a sweet tale about a mother’s love, being different, and overcoming challenges. Between the familiarly drawn pictures and the creatively written words, it became a fast favorite in our home.
Playing “Katy” with the apron by giving lots of baby animals a ride!
8 Katy No-Pocket Activities
1) Baby Wearing Meet-Up
Rocket is no stranger to baby-wearing.
We are very attachment parenting in this household and I practically wore him for his entire first year of life. To this day, I carry his 30 lb. body in a carrier from time to time. Most of the baby-wearing is reserved for the new baby, of course, but I can’t say no when Rocket asks for a fun ride here and there!
Reading about Katy No-Pocket and her struggles with carrying her joey without a pouch opened the door for us to communicate about other ways animals carry their young… including people. Like the apron Katy No-Pocket was given by the nice man in the city, we have a fabric contraption made especially for carrying babies.
I took Rocket to a local baby wearing meet-up so he could see all the different types of baby carriers moms used to carry their babies. The timing of this meet-up worked out perfectly with our book about wearing babies and I was especially motivated to go because I have a Moby wrap that I cannot for the life of me figure out how to use! So I asked the ladies for help while tying in a lesson about kangaroo pouches for Rocket. Hey, it worked!
There were also lots of other toddlers at the meeting and Rocket engaged in some wonderful open-play time.
Wearing Songbird in the Moby wrap.
2) Kangaroo Body Parts Identification
I whipped up a quick sketch of a kangaroo with her joey. Beside it was a bowl filled with the words for kangaroo body parts, written on sturdy paper (cut up index cards).
Rocket picked out the words one by one and I read them to him. He then placed them where they should go.
The parts he identified included the front legs, back legs, ears, eye, pouch, tail, and the joey. He noted that the other eye of the kangaroo couldn’t be seen from this angle.
3) Pocketed Apron Pretend Play
Rocket’s favorite thing to do in the whole, wide world (according to his own words) is PLAY!
So to get the most out of tot school, imaginative play has to happen. And for Katy No-Pocket, it happened- A LOT. All week long, he called me Katy. He was Big Boy Freddy. And Songbird was Baby Freddy.
At other times, he carried a little bunny rabbit finger puppet in his front pocket. This bunny rabbit was Freddy (we don’t have any kangaroo stuffed animals around here) and he kept it in his pocket as we played at the park, went to the groceries, and did other errands. He also did a lot of hopping around because that’s just what kangaroos do.
For our play time at home, we took turns pretending to be the nice man in the city who gave Katy his apron. Here, Rocket was being the nice man and dumping all his tools out of the apron to give it to Katy (me).
When it was his turn to be Katy, I was the nice man in the city. I dumped the tools out and tied the apron around his waist.
At the end of the book, Katy No-Pocket had so many pockets that not only could she carry Freddy, but many of the other baby animals could fit in her pouch as well! Here was Rocket with all his baby animals.
4) Working With Tools
The nice man in the city who gave Katy No-Pocket the apron had been using it to carry his tools.
Rocket loves being Dad’s handyman sidekick and since tools were featured in this book, we also worked with tools for tot school – some toy tools and even a little bit of real hammer-and-nails time with Dad!
5) Baby Animals In Pockets Activity
The invitation: A sketch of Katy No-Pocket with real pockets (simple cut and tape job) and a tray filled with various baby animals (drawn on cardstock paper and cut out), including Freddy.
Freddy got a spot in the biggest pocket, just like in the book.
Many of the baby animals shared a pocket.
He also requested a dog, even though there wasn’t one in the book!
Rocket decided to use the body part identification tags from the second activity on this page to label this sketch of Katy No-Pocket.
6) Wallaroos At The Zoo
The Louisville Zoo has a large species in the kangaroo family called a wallaroo. As we strolled through the Wallaroo Walkabout, we talked about these large sun-basking marsupials and other wildlife native to Australia. Unfortunately, it was a hot day and Songbird was not happy about the heat, so we couldn’t spend as much time there as I’d hoped we would.
Rocket matched the cow, kangaroo, and bunny puzzle at the zoo playground.
We spent more time in the indoor exhibits at the zoo. The gorillas were especially active.
Rocket naming letters and pressing them on this old typewriter set up at the zoo.
And it’s always tough to peel him away from this old van they have for the kids to play in right by the petting zoo!
7) Reading With A Purpose
Some things we talked about while reading Katy No-Pocket:
- Emotions. How did Katy feel about not having a pouch for Freddy? How did she feel at the end of the book, when she had many pockets?
- Being different. Katy struggled with being very different from the other kangaroo moms, but she persevered and refused to give up. Rocket recently learned that his grandpa has an artificial leg, so he quickly made the connection that sometimes people have physical differences and that’s perfectly okay!
- How animals carry their young. We named as many animals as we could think of and talked about how they carry their babies. We also talked about the animals that don’t carry or care for their young at all.
8) Related Reading
- Katy No-Pocket by Emmy Payne and H.A. Rey
- Curious George Makes Pancakes by Margret Rey and H.A. Rey
- Curious George Flies A Kite by Margret Rey and H.A. Rey
- 3 non-fiction age-appropriate books about kangaroos (forgot to take down the titles before returning them)
Our Katy No-Pocket activities were 3 weeks ago (I’m playing some major catch-up on this blog; we are on such a roll with tot school that it’s tough to keep up on here) and Rocket is still calling me Katy to this day! He still chooses to read this book in our non-school time. I’m glad it has made such an impression on him, especially because of the door it opened for discussion on acceptance for those who are different.
Other Tot School Resources