Sam: The Cat Without a Tail is a children’s picture book. Sam, the central character, is a Manx cat, and so, sports a soft puff of white fur instead of a tail. This is Sam’s story, his discovery that he is, indeed, different than most cats, his heartbreak over this discovery, and finally, how he resolves these feelings.
More than ever, we need if not an understanding, then certainly a tolerance for diversity. Parents reading this story with their children can use this it as a springboard to talk about how people come in all shapes, sizes and colors, yet each is wonderful and “right” in their own way.
Sam: The Cat Without A Tail follows the trials of Sam, a young Manx cat with a soft, white puff of a tail. As he discovers that he is indeed different from everyone around him, he learns and helps to teach the importance and beauty of diversity and self-worth. An original, entertaining, and thoroughly 'kid friendly' picture book specifically written for children ages 3 to 7 by Gloria Lintermans, and charmingly illustrated by Kristina Tosic, "Sam: The Cat Without A Tail" is particularly and especially recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Sam: The Cat Without A Tail" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Author Gloria Lintermans hasn’t given up on adults, though at first it might seem like it. Her latest book, “The Cat Without a Tail,” simply expands on themes she has been addressing for years: relationships, love, respect and how to transit life’s bumpy paths gracefully and intact.
But it’s aimed at a different generation, a book to read while cuddled up on the sofa with a child, and illustrated by Kristina Tosic. The author dedicates the book to Anchovy, Reisa, Hariette, and Sam. No mystery there.
“If you look at the progression of my books – from divorce and caring for children, through surviving the death of a spouse, to falling in love again and step families – this book evolved naturally.” Sam is a Manx, a breed of cats without tails, cats that are different, which opens a way to talk to kids about diversity and accepting differences, including their own.
“I felt that right now, the world is in such turmoil, I have never been so frightened of the possibility of its just exploding on us,” Lintermans said from her home in Los Angeles. “So I did a U-turn, because it’s really the children who are going to change us. We cannot do a lot about the adults who are destroying our world, politically, environmentally and even psychologically.
“So I thought. I am going to go all the way back to the place where children are most influenced by their parents. Sam’s being different from most cats is really an analogy of all of the different peoples and customs we have all over the world. Through Sam, we can explore with our children ways to create a better world by helping them to understand that everyone is special in their own way.”
But wait! Don’t worry that Sam’s story is preachy or dull. Fur flies. Cats lose their cool. There’s plenty of action and lots of emotion too, ranging from joy to fear, from ridicule to bravery , and ultimately to understanding and friendship.
“Regardless of their religion, the country they live in, the color of their skin, everyone is special. Everyone. And once we ingest that truth, there is no reason to fear anyone who is different,” said Lintermans.
Throughout her adult life, Lintermans has been an observer of human nature. “I try very hard to leave judgment out, in life and in the book,” she said. “If we could only accept who we are, perfectly, we could accept how others are, perfectly.”
Does this sound like Utopia? If so, Utopia may be a good place to start.
More than ever, said Lintermans, we need – if not an understanding – then certainly a tolerance for diversity.
“Parents reading this story with their children can use it as a springboard to talk about how people come in all shapes, sizes and colors, yet each is wonderful and “right” in their own way.”
At the end of the book, Lintermans includes guidelines for parents and caregivers , actions to take for developing self-worth in children:
Help children be independent and provide opportunities for them to be in control of their action.
Find ways for children to experience success so they have more opportunities for achieving competence and feeling good about themselves.
Avoid reinforcing stereotypical ideas of what is appropriate play and instead encourage a diverse range of activities and skills for both girls and boys.
Offer opportunities for children to express their ideas and feelings.
Create ways for children to interact and play with other children and help them figure out strategies for getting along together.
Remember to express appreciation for special qualities and traits that children possess.
Help them develop new skills. Children need lots of opportunities to practice and try things out over and over.
About Manx Cats, from the book:
Strong and stocky, the Manx is a mellow, even-tempered cat, friendly and affectionate. Good companions (some say more like dogs), Manx cats will follow you about the house, “helping” with whatever you happen to be doing at the moment. Manx cats originated from the Isle of Man (A small island in the British Isles) about 300 years ago and there are many legends about their origin.