Life is full of questions for Clive, The curious kitten

Obviously not only a curious cat but a well read one also

“All God’s creatures got a place in the choir

Some sing low, some sing higher

Some sing out loud on the telephone wires

And some just clap their hands, or paws, or anything they got now”.

Many readers of The Kilkenny Observer Newspaper will know the chorus lines of the Bill Staines song ‘A place in the choir’.

I would even hazard a guess that you probably sang the last three lines.

Written by American folk singer Bill Staines in 1979, the ‘Makem and Clancy’ version recorded on this side of the Atlantic in 1980 is best known to us as a nation.

It is a song that came to mind when I finished reading ‘Clive, the curious kitten’, written and designed by husband and wife team Christian and Kim Shaw.

Kim has been illustrating children’s books for many years and the quality of her work is a joy to behold in this beautiful publication.

It won’t come as a surprise that reading has been proven to be hugely beneficial for children’s cognitive development.

It improves, develops and stimulates the young mind.

It also improves a youngsters mind and of course imagination, leading to a lifetime love of reading.

Dr Sinéad McNally, an associate professor of psychology and early childhood Education at DCU, said that early reading was most beneficial.

Dr McNally continued: “Increased motivation to engage in reading offers multiple opportunities for learning new words and complex language necessary for supporting literacy skills.

“In our study, we found that both early shared reading and access to children’s books at home served to enhance children’s motivation to read, which in turn supported later reading success.

“Thus, our findings suggest that early shared reading and access to books as early as age three has downstream effects for reading achievement and motivation later in school.”

One of the main introductions to reading, as we all know, is curiosity.

Which brings us neatly back to ‘Clive, the curious kitten’.

Clive, in a day’s walking, comes across many different animals and insects.

He is full of questions such as asking his mammy where mummy cats come from.

Or when he meets Sheena the spider, he is blown away by the spider’s ability to make such a glorious web. “How do you do that Clive enquires of the spider?

Others queried by the curious Clive include Barney the bee, Rebecca rabbit, Freda the frog, Sam the snail and Billy the bat.

When Clive finally meets Ollie the owl he asks: “Can you please tell me how all the animals on earth do such wonderful things”?

The Owl, being wise and old, explains all. “It is the gift of the great master designer”, explains the Owl.


This is a wonderful book and one that parents or grandparents will enjoy reading to the younger children in the family.

It certainly wouldn’t be out of place as a stocking filler when Santa comes calling .

We have mentioned already the quality of the illustrations.

We should also compliment the structure of the writing and the message it holds.

Like Clive, the younger readers are full of curiosity and they will, we believe, love this book and the introduction to all ‘God’s creatures.’

Speaking to The Kilkenny Observer, Christian Shaw said both he and Kim had great fun producing the book which would capture the wonderful world of wonder for children.

Note: Both Christian and Kim agreed that the book can be read and enjoyed as a fun read or can lead to further conversation about the creator.

‘Clive the curious kitten’ is available from Kilkenny bookshops.

Text: Christian Shaw. Illustrations Kim Shaw. Printed by Modern Printers Kilkenny. Published by Cedar Light, Kilkenny

1. Read everything

Encourage your child to read anything and everything. This will stimulate their curiosity for the world around them.

2. Have fun with spelling

Use fun and inventive ways to practice spelling with your children. There are hundreds of spelling games you can play online, but some of the classics which you can play together include Hangman, Text Twist and Word Search.

3. One page at a time

Encourage your child to go beyond their comfort zone. If they find it daunting to read longer books or words, take it one step at a time. Instead of reading an entire chapter of a long book, challenge them to read just one page or one paragraph of a book. Soon pages will turn to chapters and their joy of reading will grow.


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