This week we read Papa Piccolo by Carol Talley. It's a FIAR text which tells the moving story of a Venetian tomcat who adopts two stray kittens.
We hadn't discussed Venice before and this story was a great way to introduce it. The story and the illustrations centre around the canals and water transport. The Grand Canal, annual Regatta and Rialto Bridge feature in the illustrations and there is talk of many forms of water transport - laundry barges, garbage barges, police motor boats, gondolas and water taxis.
We talked about how we may feel living in a place like Venice. Hermione thought it would be a good thing that there would be less cars but a bad thing that you can't just walk out wherever you feel. She said she wouldn't like to live in a house where the water came right to the front of the house - she would miss having a garden.
Piccolo doubted whether he could look after kittens because he wasn't a 'mama cat'. We talked about gender differences in parenting. Hermione felt it was fine for a male cat or person to be a single parent although she did go on to say that Dads are best for going on roller coasters. I can live with that.
We looked at more pictures of canals, The Bridge of Sighs and gondolas. We placed our story disc on the map.
The kittens were initially without a home. We talked about people with no homes and wondered why this should be and how it can happen. Decided not to wade in too deep here but we did agree that poverty was probably one of the main factors and that this could come about through lots of reasons - not being able to find a job, not being able to get the right sort of help when needed, having certain illness and having been born into poverty and homelessness.
Hermione painted a picture of Papa Piccolo.
Hermione really enjoyed this book and so did I. It reminded me of my own trip to Venice and I'm afraid to say I probably did drone on about that quite a bit. I really hope it is a place we will visit as a family one day.