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Children's Fiction Nursery Rhymes

Pussycat, Pussycat, Where Have You Been?

by (author) Dan Bar-el

illustrated by Rae Maté

Simply Read Books
Initial publish date
Jan 2020
Nursery Rhymes, Travel
Recommended Age
3 to 6
Recommended Grade
p to 3
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    May 2011
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2020
    List Price

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Simply Read Books

About the authors


Dan Bar-el est un auteur à succès, un pédagogue et un conteur qui a publié des romans, des albums illustrés et des bandes dessinées. Depuis vingt et un ans, il travaille avec des enfants de trois à treize ans en tant que prestataire de services de garde et donne des cours de théâtre et d'écriture. Dan habite à Vancouver.


Dan Bar-el believes that the highest compliment a preschool child can pay is to call one silly. He carries the label with honor. "Preschool children have no patience for 'jokes,'" he says. "Ask one to tell you a knock-knock joke and, painfully, you'll see my point. But nothing gets a giggle like the absurd. Nothing is funnier than turning the rules on their heads." And that is exactly what Dan has done in his new book, in which each of twenty-six children is named for a child he has taught. The author of Things are Looking Up, Jack and Things are Looking Grimm, fill, Dan lives, writes and teac

Dan Bar-el's profile page

Rae Maté illustrator of Crocodiles Say, and the sporty new sequel, Crocodiles Play! Rae Maté has always loved making pictures. She has been painting and showing her work professionally since she graduated from Emily Carr College of Art and Design in 1986 . Rae also enjoys teaching art to preschoolers, and she divides her painting time between her home studios in Vancouver and Hornby Island BC.

Rae Maté's profile page

Librarian Reviews

Pussycat, Pussycat, Where Have You Been?

Dan Bar-el’s creative extension of the Mother Goose rhyme is a lyrical journey perfectly accompanied by Rae Maté’s dreamy paintings. As the illustrations show, a young girl is asking Pussycat to recount tales of his travels, which the pair re-enact by puppet show under the light of a whiskery moon. This framing works magically. Young readers see, through the pair’s imagination, Pussycat’s adventures in France, the far north, Egypt and beyond, his encounters with zany characters and kind strangers, and also his isolation, fear and loneliness.

The exploration of the child’s voice adds an additional layer to this well-loved rhyme. While the tale is Pussycat’s, it is through the child’s questions that the story is discovered. That the young girl was so much in his thoughts while Pussycat was away is also deep and affirming. She asks, “Pussycat, Pussycat, / What kept you brave?” and he fittingly answers, “To know you were waiting / Beyond the next wave.”

Bar-el and Maté have imbued this book with the timeless spirit of a Mother Goose rhyme. Maté’s artwork, rich in colour and texture, depicts vintage steam trains and oil lanterns. Bar-el’s language is beautiful, with loving attention given to natural scansion and rhyme, enhancing the flow of the story. Even the artful illustration of the initial letters lends to the book’s classic appeal. My children, aged 4 through 10, are convinced this is how the rhyme has always been. I’m happy and convinced that this is the way they will always recall it.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Fall 2011. Volume 34 No. 4.

Pussycat, Pussycat, Where Have You Been?

This book expands on the classic nursery rhyme, describing the intrepid adventures of Pussycat after he leaves London. Join him as he sails down the Seine in France, ventures to the far north, where he sees pods of grey whales, and eventually ends up back at home with his partner and friend. We also learn more about Pussycat’s sorrows, wishes and fears.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Fall, 2012.

Other titles by Dan Bar-el

Other titles by Rae Maté