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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
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2023
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 4 to 7
  • Grade: p to 2
  • Reading age: 4 to 7


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 was born in Ottawa and grew up in Toronto, Ontario, where she still lives with her husband and daughter. She has an identical twin sister and an older brother. As kids, Kelly and her sister drew all the time, mostly in an effort to "outdraw" their brother. Kelly studied illustration in college and is both the author and illustrator of the Steve the Horse series.


Kelly Collier's profile page

Editorial 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

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

Other titles by Kari-Lynn Winters

Other titles by Kelly Collier