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Additional Reviews  

More of What People Say
About Fran and Her Cats...

Feral cat lessons: Children can learn about caring for feral cats by reading Linda Elder’s new book “Fairminded Fran and the three small black Community Cats.” The 47-page paperback with delightful illustrations follows Fran’s successful campaign to neuter and feed three cats living near her school’s Dumpster. Elder is an educational psychologist and president of the Foundation for Critical Thinking. Order it at criticalthinking.org or call 800-833-3645.
Donna J. Miller
Plain Dealer reporter, Cleveland, OH

If youÕve ever spotted a feral cat in your neighborhood and werenÕt sure what to do, this would be a great picture book to read with your kids. Fran, a little girl, spots wild cats near her elementary school. Not all the other kids want to help them, but Fran is determined. First she feeds them. Then, she learns about a catch, neuter and release program for feral cats. Her compassion helps to bring the other kids around.
This bonus idea is for anyone who notices feral cats in their community. You donÕt have to catch the wild cats yourself either. Many communities have volunteers that will do that if they know about the wild cats. ItÕs an effective and humane program.

Mia Wenjen
Pragmatic Mom blog

“Fairminded Fran and the Three Small Black Community Cats” is a fantastic book and covers so much wonderful information in such a readable format. I would definitely recommend it to any humane educator or others interested in starting, continuing or educating others about our nation/worldwide problem of feral/community cats. “Fairminded Fran” covers all the basics and then some of TNR and the continuing care of the cats.
Jean Meyer
Friends of Keokuk Animal Services

“Fairminded Fran and the three small black Community Cats” by Linda Elder is a heartwarming story about the compassion shown by a young girl for three feral cats found living outside her school. In addition to helping children develop empathy for animals, the book encourages critical thinking and active involvement, leading to empowerment. This would be a wonderful addition to a classroom reading program and could inspire a local community service project! A win-win situation for all involved – including feral cats!
Liz Maul
Outreach & Education Manager
Lake Tahoe Humane Society and S.P.C.A.

I am so delighted that such a wonderfully written book with engaging
illustrations is here to educate both children and adults! Calling the animals “community cats” puts a personal touch to the topic and a feeling of extending oneself past what is our direct responsibility; a much needed awakening indeed. I am so happy that Fairminded Fran was able to reach the heart of Selfish Sam. It appears that empathy can be contagious! I feel this book has the potential to reach many Selfish Sams!
Judy Crumpton
Humane Educator

Long Beach, CA

…I passed this book onto our Humane Ed Task Force and to other staff to
read. The book is nicely illustrated and the font size is great. It is a wonderful interpretation of community cats and really illustrates who they are and how to help them. Several “Wow!” “Wonderful!” “Well done!” comments from readers’ notes... The illustrations– I can’t stop looking at them or wanting to take out my colored pencils, craypas and do the same–
…I can see this as a read-aloud for children in several sessions with room left for discussion. I would definitely love to purchase copies for our humane ed programs!
Pat Castellano
Humane Educator
Animal Allies Humane Society

“Fairminded Fran and the three small black Community Cats” is a well-written children’s book that helps illustrate one child’s life experience that leads her to act in a fair-minded way. When confronted with the cats that are in desperate need of care and attention, the child engages empathizes with the point of view of the community cats. … she quickly learns that the feral cats live in a much different situation than she had assumed to be true. While this is upsetting at first, she is fairminded and continues to pursue a solution for the community cats. As she seeks to know more about the cats by asking adults around her for information, and by doing research, Fran shows her thinking to be flexible; her understanding of what the cats really need soon shifts. This is a great book to use for launching the notion of the three thinkers; Fairminded Fran, Selfish Sam and Naive Nancy that exist within all of us. When we teach children to recognize these types of thinking, they have tools for better understanding the quality of their thinking.
Carmen A. Polka
Kindergarten Teacher, Ponderosa Elementary School
Thompson School District

The first thing one notices when picking up the book “Fairminded Fran and the three small black Community Cats”, is Kathy Abney"s illustration of three little cats. These little cats, however, have a very distinctive feature: their left ear is tipped. To people involved in trap-neuter-return (TNR), this might be a common sight, but not so for the general public. This small detail is in fact reflective of the accuracy of this children's book.
That is the story that Fairminded Fran and the three small Community Cats by Linda Elder tells. The book tells the tale of a schoolgirl named Fairminded Fran who notices three black cats outside her school. The cats run from her when she tries to talk to them or give them food. Fairminded Fran is uncertain of what to do and gets little help from Selfish Sam, who thinks that outside cats are just a nuisance and Naïve Nancy thinks it is better to just not get involved. I love how these characters really represent a snapshot of society when it comes to feral cats. There are people who just think they are problem cats and should just be eliminated, people who just ignore the problem and then luckily we have heroes like Fran, who decide to do something.
The book follows Fran as she changes the mind of Sam and Nancy and gets her school involved in helping to care for these cats. They build a feeding station and a shelter and work with a local Feral cat rescue to get the cats fixed.
The story is a great example of how a person can make a positive impact and change the minds of those around her. It is also illustrates how easily feral cats can be helped and cared for. The book also does a great job of getting kids to think about and understand what empathy means. The book has many instances of people being empathetic to the feral cats.
The explanation of terms in the back is great and very informative for kids and adults alike.  …This would be a great addition to any humane educators, teacher or animal advocates library.
Jennifer Self-Aulgur, Humane Education Coordinator,
Humane Society of West Michigan

Fairminded Fran and the Three Small Black Community Cats is a very sweet book, with engaging illustrations, and jam-packed with interesting and important information about a topic not covered in other literature for this age group. Fran is a terrific character, brimming with curiosity and compassion, and confident enough in her beliefs to rally children and adults to join her cause. In a world where children's literature often paints adults as uncaring or just-plain silly, the adults represented in this book exhibit the best behaviors society can offer in truly listening to Fran, applauding her compassion, protecting her from harm, and demonstrating a cooperative and analytic approach to problem-solving. With feral cats as the recipients of kindness, a critically important lesson is presented at the end of this story. Feral cats may never show affection in return for human kindness, so knowledge that you have done something good can and must be its own reward. Some of the dialogue seems a little unnatural for the main character and overall there are a few too many words per page for the target age group, but, given the goals of teaching about teamwork, compassion, and critical thinking even these potential shortcomings are outweighed by the strengths of the book. The kittens, by the way, are absolutely adorable. Reach And Teach gives this one three paws up.
Craig Wiesner



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