Quincy, the Cat of La Mancha
Preview
Quincy the Cat of La Mancha book cover
Quincy, the Cat of La Mancha sets off with his sidekick Sancho the Squirrel on a quest to locate his owner Nia. This colorful and humorous re-imaging of Don Quixote is designed to introduce children to this classic literary story. Along the way, Quincy overcomes several challenges before finding and helping Nea. Similar to his literary namesake, Quincy's imagination allows him to see windmill lawn ornaments as giants and crows as rival knights. The book teaches the values of honor, loyalty and bravery.
 
 

Cat of La Mancha - Parent and Teacher Resources

The goal of the Cat of La Mancha is to introduce the classic literary story of Don Quixote to children at a younger age in way that's friendly and accessible. This early exposure implants some of the main themes, scenes and characters. As a result they are already familiar with the elements of the book once they encounter it later in their developmental life.

Don Quixote is a good starting point because it's the most widely distributed literary work in the world and one of the major themes is actually the art of storytelling. The resources, references and activities associated with the Cat of La Mancha are based around the introduction of literature and reading to young children, as well as storytelling and story creation.

Introducing Reading to Children:
 

Introduce books and reading to young children (3-6):

3-4 Years

  • Start talking about the books

  • Start helping them identify letters

  • Point out small words

  • Move your finger as you read

  • Introduce more plot based books

  • Introduce fairy tales

 

4-5 Years

  • Start reading longer books

  • Encourage them to point out words

  • Encourage them to read small parts

  • Make sure they know the alphabet

  • Ask them to tell the story

  • Continue the daily routine

 

5-6 Years

  • Read longer books together

  • Read a chapter or section each night

  • Be aware of their reading list for school

  • Have discussions about the books

  • Talk about your favorite books as a child

  • Encourage to start reading on their own

Introduce books and reading to young children (1-3):

0-1 Year

  • Hold the book close

  • Start with black and white

  • Move on to bold colors

  • Use soft books and board books

  • Make reading part of the regular routine

 

1-2 Years

  • Move on to full color

  • Find books they can relate to

    • Children, families, household objects

  • Stay with soft books and board books

  • Start letting them choose the book

  • Start letting them hold the book

  • Continue the regular routine

 

2-3 Years

  • Move on to books with full sentences

  • Encourage them to follow along

  • Introduce more teaching books

    • letters, shapes, numbers, etc.

  • Continue the regular routine

  • Start taking them to the library

  • Encourage them to look for books

  • Start switching to paper and hardbacks

Introduce books and reading to young children (1-3):

0-1 Year

  • Hold the book close

  • Start with black and white

  • Move on to bold colors

  • Use soft books and board books

  • Make reading part of the regular routine

 

1-2 Years

  • Move on to full color

  • Find books they can relate to

    • Children, families, household objects

  • Stay with soft books and board books

  • Start letting them choose the book

  • Start letting them hold the book

  • Continue the regular routine

 

2-3 Years

  • Move on to books with full sentences

  • Encourage them to follow along

  • Introduce more teaching books

    • letters, shapes, numbers, etc.

  • Continue the regular routine

  • Start taking them to the library

  • Encourage them to look for books

  • Start switching to paper and hardbacks

Introduce books and reading to young children (3-6):

3-4 Years

  • Start talking about the books

  • Start helping them identify letters

  • Point out small words

  • Move your finger as you read

  • Introduce more plot based books

  • Introduce fairy tales

 

4-5 Years

  • Start reading longer books

  • Encourage them to point out words

  • Encourage them to read small parts

  • Make sure they know the alphabet

  • Ask them to tell the story

  • Continue the daily routine

 

5-6 Years

  • Read longer books together

  • Read a chapter or section each night

  • Be aware of their reading list for school

  • Have discussions about the books

  • Talk about your favorite books as a child

  • Encourage to start reading on their own

Games and Activites
 

Book qualities to look for when introducing literature to children:

  • Clear and concise writing. It's important for books to be well written yet accessible. Stories can be rich and contain deep meaning without dense or complex writing. The works of Mark Twain (Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Kenneth Graham (Wind in the Willows) are eloquently written without the need for huge vocabularies and compound sentences.

  • Imagination and wonder. One of the greatest things about being a child is their overall sense of wonder. Choose books that appeal to that sense of fascination. For example, the worlds and narratives of Frances Hodgson Burnett (The Secret Garden), Robert Louis Stevenson (Treasure Island) and do an excellent job of transporting you to other worlds.

  • Universal themes. Look for books that contain ideas and story arcs that are relatable. Examples include Louisa May Alcott (Little Women) and Rudyard Kipling (The Jungle Book).

Tips and Strategies for introducing children to books and literature:

  • Start reading to them at an early age and keep reading together a regularly activity as they get older.

  • Take children to visit the library and attend live readings when available.

  • Share the classic books and stories that were your favorites as a child and talk about why you like them. 

  • Start with abridged and heavily illustrated versions of classic stories and literature.

  • Introduce them to the books that are the basis for their favorite movies.

  • Look for books that lend themselves to reading a chapter or section each night. 

  • Don't try to use pop-culture book series as "gateway" to reading - it generally lacks the archetypes and themes found in classic literature.

  • Draw from your children's own interests - cowboys, pirates, kings and queens, etc. can all be found in classic literature.

  • Take an interest in the books they are reading and studying in school.

  • Role model reading as a regular activity - stick to the classics.

Good books to start with for young readers (presented in order based on age, youngest to oldest):

  1. Quincy, the Cat of La Mancha

  2. Green Eggs and Ham

  3. Goodnight Moon

  4. Where the Wild Things Are

  5. Winnie the Pooh

  6. Wind in the Willows

  7. Peter Rabbit

  8. Charlotte's Web

  9. Watership Down

  10. Jungle Book

  11. The Secret Garden

  12. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

  13. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

  14. Anne of Green Gables

  15. Treasure Island

  16. Little Women

  17. Oliver Twist

  18. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

  19. Moby Dick

  20. Don Quixote

This list is just a starting point. There
are many more books that all children should have the opportunity to experience.

 
Games and Activites

Hero Outfit

Provide craft supplies such as paper, crayons, markers, paper plates, etc. and ask the children to create their own "hero outfits like Quincy's. Have them create a helmet, breast plate, cloak or cape, etc. Ask them to talk about their outfit and why they choose certain elements.

A Visit to Spain

Cat of La Mancha is based on a story that originated in Spain. This is an opportunity to tie in lessons about Spanish cultures such as art, food, etc. The tapestry style in the book's illustrations is based on Spanish culture and features crosses, crowns and other related images.

A New Quest

One of the main themes of Don Quixote is actually storytelling itself. As your child to make up a new adventure for Quincy and Sancho. Maybe Nia goes missing again or use the examples in the beginning of the story as inspiration - protecting the yard, scaring away the birds or catching the mice.

 

Discussion Questions

  1. What does Quincy wear as his armor? Can those things really protect you? Does it matter that Quincy isn't wearing real armor?

  2. How does Quincy help the crow?

  3. Why did the rabbit get captured? How about groundhog? Why does Quincy let them go? Does he let the raccoon go? Why not?

  4. How does Sancho help Quincy? Could Quincy have found Nia without Sancho?

  5. Quincy says that a knight is always honorable, brave and honest. Can you name someone who is honorable. How about brave? What about honest?

  6. Is Quincy a real knight? Is Quincy a hero? What does he do that makes him a hero?

Coloring Pages and Word Search
 
Reference Cards
 
Strategies for introducing books and reading to 1 to 2 year old children.
Strategies for introducing books and reading to 2 to 4 year old children.
Strategies for introducing books and reading to 4 to 6 year old children.
Book qualities to look for when introduction literature to children.
Examples of quality books to introduce children to literature.
Strategies for introducing children to books and literature.
Tips for introducing children to books and literature.
20 Great books to start off young readers.
Hero outfit activity for children to promote creativity and imagination.
Visit to Spain activity related to the Cat of La Mancha Don Quixote for kids.
Storytelling activity for children.
Discussion Questions for Cat of La Mancha.

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