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Children's Fiction Self-esteem & Self-reliance

What If I'm Not a Cat?

by (author) Kari-Lynn Winters

illustrated by Kelly Collier

Kids Can Press
Initial publish date
Jun 2023
Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, General, Humorous Stories
Recommended Age
4 to 7
Recommended Grade
p to 2
Recommended Reading age
4 to 7
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2023
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


A sweet, playful story about identity - and what it means to belong.

Why, of course Donkey's a cat. He spends all his time with the other cats on the farm. He licks his fur and pounces, just like they do. He even cuddles with them at nap time. Though, he must admit, sometimes he does feel ... a little off. So, when Farmer says to him, “Donkey, you're acting like a cat!” it gets him thinking. What if he's not a cat? And if not, then what is he? Will going off on his own help Donkey figure out what he is and where he belongs?

Award-winning author Kari-Lynn Winters's delightful story of self-discovery uses kid-perfect hilarity to deliver the message that every individual has something unique to offer to their community. The contrast between Donkey and his cat friends makes for laugh-out-loud silliness in Kelly Collier's endearing and amusing art (ever seen a Donkey perch on a fence post?). Pages are filled with spot illustrations, speech bubbles and action words that keep the visual appeal high. Sure to be a story-time crowd-pleaser, this picture book could easily spark discussions about identity, fitting in and belonging. It also works well for character education lessons on adaptability, inclusiveness, initiative and caring.

About the authors

Kari-Lynn Winters is the author of Jeffrey and Sloth (2007), a picture book about the daunting task of overcoming writer's block, and The Meaning Maker, a children's play about reading strategies which is currently being toured throughout the Lower Mainland. A graduate of Canada's National Theatre School, she is currently performing with a Vancouver children's theatre group, The Tickle Trunk Players.

Kari has taught a range of students in Canada and the United States, including pre-school, special education, primary, intermediate, high school, and now university teacher education.

She is currently completing her Ph.D. in the Language and Literacy Department at UBC. Her research interests are children's literature, print literacy, and multimodal forms of learning.

Kari's website is

Kari-Lynn Winters' profile page

Kelly Collier has been drawing since she was little, and studied illustration in college. She is the author-illustrator of A Horse Named Steve, Team Steve and The Imposter, and the illustrator of Sloth and Squirrel in a Pickle and the Izzy series. She has an identical twin sister and an older brother. The idea for Steve the Horse came from a doodle she did to fill a small empty frame at home. Kelly lives in Toronto, Ontario, with her husband and daughter.

Kelly Collier's profile page

Editorial Reviews

This title is a wonderful introduction to an essential topic on the minds of many children and parents - discovering one's identity ... a theme of positivity and gentleness [is] woven throughout the tale.

CM Magazine

Delightful barnyard humor sends the important messages of embracing individual strengths and the power of friendship.

Kirkus Reviews

Readers who enjoy unexpected and humorous stories will like this funny tale about a character whose differences are what make him best suited to his environment.

Children's Literature

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