Happy Cat and Merry Cat answer, “Who’s steering your ship?”

Happy Cat and Merry Cat are two playful girls who see joy, humour and adventure in everything. Their abundant energy and courage propel them to to test limits. This doesn’t always sit well within the structure of routine and rules of a classroom. See what happens when Happy Cat’s  and Merry Cat’s exuberant choices in the classroom bring consequences that cause them to reflect and change their behaviour. It was been written with rhyming couplets.

The cover for the children's story "Happy Cat and Merry Cat answer, 'Who's Steering Your Ship?'"

The front cover of Happy Cat and Merry Cat answer, “Who’s steering your ship?”

MC Rolston reading at a school visit

School Visit: What Can You Expect?

  • In costume, I will read the story to a group of students, ( The suggested maximum is no more than three classes. The reading would be more effective with one or two classes)

  • A copy of the book for the school

  • The option to use the book as a fundraiser. I will ask for $7.00 to cover my cost and the school or the classroom can set their own price for instance, the book could be sold for $12 which is almost 5 dollars less than regular retail price

  • Depending on time availability, I will conduct a writing workshop with the students in your class

Inspiration for the Story

This story was inspired by Mrs. Brown Robson’s grade 4 classroom that had read the first Happy Cat and Merry Cat story and prepared a review for the back cover. They requested that they would like to see more Happy Cat and Merry Cat stories. Unbeknownst to them I had already written another story about the girls turning into cats, however, given their request and that their teacher was retiring at the end of  the year, I was inspired to write this third story about the girls set in the classroom. In this story I wanted to feature Mrs. Brown Robson’s magical , Mary Poppins style of teaching, which encourages students to be independent, make effective choices and take responsibility for their actions. This story greatly reflects Dr W Glasser’s Choice Theory in action.

About the Illustrator

This story was initially illustrated by the students in Mrs. Brown Robson’s class, after which I inset the drawings and had booklets printed for each student as a souvenir of their year with this fabulous teacher. It was my retirement gift/tribute to my friend.  I then decided this story would be a great drawing-story for students in the classroom or for parents for their children at home. All you have to do is print off the pages, make your own booklet then your child can read and illustrate the story.

Guide for Reading: PRC

Predictions, Reflections, and Connections


Predicting is an essential tool when developing as a strong reader. This story has been written to hook the young audience in engaging in predicable events.

Ask the following questions:

What do you predict this story will be about? Will it be about cats in a classroom? Why or why not?

Can you predict what the rhyming word will be in the second line of the couplet?

Do you think the girls will get into trouble? What might they do?

How do you predict the teacher will react?


Reflecting throughout a book makes the story extra personal and come alive. It reflects a Reader’s level of comprehension. A more thoughtful and complex reflection and connection reveal a higher understanding of the story. They also help reinforce one’s memory sequence which forms the basis of a retelling with more detail and reference to nuance. A simple and literal retelling reflects a more simplistic understanding.

Use the following questions for points of discussion:

Have you had a best friend in your class?

Have you ever gotten caught for choosing to do things that broke class rules or were not cooperative?

How do you feel when other people in your classroom break rules or are annoying?

How did you feel? What did you do to change? How did you feel after you changed?

What do you think are important choices to make in a classroom? What are behaviours that build good relationships with friends, classmates, and the adults in your life?

List three rules you think are most important in a classroom.


Making connections facilitates a deeper understanding of a story through making inferences, noting details and relating them to prior information. It is seeing, linking, and articulating other topics and events to the story. The reader is applying this reading experience to other learned information. Often when making connections the reader will arrive at exciting new insights that extend beyond the literal story.

Use the following questions for points of discussion:

Why do the girls have the nicknames Happy Cat and Merry Cat?

How would you describe the girls and their personalities?

Do you think that their teacher was watchful? Why? How is she described to lead to think this way?

What did the teacher say to get the girls to think of others?

Do you like this teacher? Why or why not?

What did the girls do to get the teacher annoyed?

What were other consequences of their behaviour? Describe how they felt.

What finally caused the girls to change? How did they change?

What does ‘Who’s Driving Your Ship?’ mean?

Additional Resources

For Kids

For Parents & Teachers