Updated: Sep 10, 2021
Don't you love Twitter sometimes? That moment when a simple tweet sparks your imagination and inspires you to take action - whether that be writing a poem, drawing a picture or prompting you to challenge the way you think about everyday things.
Well, this happened to me two nights ago. The brilliant poet and illustrator Colin West posted an an illustration of a scaredy-cat. I loved the image's raw and simple brilliance; I had never seen a cat look so spooked.
I'd always thought of humans as the scaredy-cats but never the cats themselves. The phrase obviously comes from somewhere but I've not met many cats that are actually scared of anything; quite the opposite. Colin's linear drawing made me reimagine what a scaredy-cat actually is ....
He’s known around as Scaredy-Cat
He’s scared of this, he’s scared of that
He’s scared of birds, he’s scared of mice
He’s scared of fish, he’s scared of lice
He’s scared of tails, full of fur
He’s scared of throats, full of purr
He’s scared of fangs, full of gnaws
He’s scared of paws, full of claws
He’s scared of yowls, under moons
He’s scared of Tom, in cartoons
He’s scared of hiss in his howl
He’s scared of spit in his growl
So Scaredy-Cat, hides under cars
and scaredy-cars, hide under stars
and scaredy-stars hide in the sky
and scaredy-skies, hide way up high
So if you spy The Scaredy-Cat
Afraid of this, afraid of that
Beneath the cars and stars and sky
Don’t point and laugh or pass him by
Just tempt him out with things he loves
Not fish below or birds above
The Scaredy-Cat loves bubble baths
And naughty dogs who make him laugh
So bathe him, paint his claws bright red
Then tie a bow upon his head
Arrange a date: a handsome Pug
Watch Scaredy-Cat walk tall, strut smug
He may not like what most cats do
He’s different, just like me, like you
The Scaredy-Cat feels proud and sure
He’s found his courage; scared no more
Teaching Ideas: Write a poem about an animal and list all the things it shouldn't or wouldn't be afraid of. The challenge is to make the animal be happier, regardless of it not fitting in with the expectations. Use Colin's illustration to inspire your own image of your chosen animal looking afraid of being itself!
It could be a good starting point to discuss the danger of #stereotypes with younger children.