Happy Cat & Merry Cat

This rhyming children’s book tells the story of two best friends—both spunky nine-year-old girls named Catherine. Nicknamed Happy Cat and Merry Cat, the girls love to dress up, drink tea, and eat sandwiches and sweets. Always looking for adventure and fun, they dream of a chance to have formal tea in their town’s tea shop and devise a plan to sing and dance on the street and collect change in a teapot until they have enough. But soon after they are seated inside the shop, their mothers find them and scold them for running off, teaching the girls a valuable lesson about always telling their parents where they are.

Available at:



Barnes & Noble

The cover for the children's story "Happy Cat and Merry Cat"

The front cover of Happy Cat & Merry Cat

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

Inspiration for the story….came from a friend of mine named Katherine. Since she exuded joy celebrating any occasion with song and laughter, I nicknamed her Happy Kat. During the summers when we weren’t teaching, we would go for tea talking about one day owning our own tea shop. I began to imagine what it would be like if we were two little girls and poof, out popped this story, and subsequently, two more stories, Happy Cat and Merry Cat Meet Merry-Lynn and Happy Cat and Merry Cat Answer, Who’s Steering Your Ship?”.

An illustration of Keith

A self-portrait by Keith Cains

About the Illustrator

Keith has always drawn and painted. As a child, after the war when here were shortages of so many things, he would paint Christmas cards for the family to send to friends and relatives. In the early days most of his work involved pencil drawings and later he did many pen and ink drawings. This was complimented by his work as a draftsman for many years.

In recent years Keith has been drawn into the fascinating and often frustrating world of watercolour painting. He says sometimes it seems like the paints have a mind of their own which can often lead to surprising results, sometimes good and sometimes not so good. Keith draws inspiration mostly from the natural world, landscapes, seascapes, birds and animals in particular but recently he has turned his hand to portraits and figure painting. He sees each new painting as an exciting journey, never sure of where the path will lead but always interesting and rewarding. His immediate ambition is to embark on some large scale works which he sees as particularly challenging for the watercolour painter. Maybe he just needs larger brushes. Now, if he can just get the cat to move off his drawing-board…..

He has participated in the Sidney Fine Art Show several times and in 2015 earned Honorable Mention for his work titled “Family Elephant”.

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? Do you think it is about cat’s? Why?

What descriptions in the story lead you believe the girls were happy, not shy and playful?

What do you predict the girls like to eat?

Do you predict their mothers know what they are doing?


Reflecting throughout a book helps make a read personal and come alive. It reflects a readers level of comprehension. A more thoughtful and complex reflection and connection reveals and higher understanding as oppose to simple literal comparisons and or relating. They also allow for a reader to reflect and retell part of the story as they are reflecting and relating. A simplistic retelling usually reflects a more simplistic understanding.

Use the following questions for points of discussion:

Do you think the girls are creative and if so why?

Have you ever creatively arrived at a plan that allowed you to realize a dream?

Have you ever seen buskers performing on the streets or attended a busking festival? Would you have the qualities needed to busk?

Why were the moms so upset?

Why didn’t the girls think they did anything wrong?

How upset were the moms? What did they do that might lead you to believe that they were forgiving and wanted to celebrate with the girls?

How did the mom’s find out where the girls were?

What is your favourite part of the story and why?


Making connections allows a reader to develop their understanding of a story through inferences and noting details.

Use the following questions for points of discussion:

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

Do you see any similarities in the illustrations? Which ones are similar, and in what way?

Can you show the pages of silhouettes and outline? Which type of illustration do you prefer and why (outline, silhouette or water colour)?

Do you think they had enough money for tea? Do you think the tea-shop owner was kind and, if so, why?

What qualities did the girls need to busk to raise money?

How can you tell the mother’s were not happy? Did they accept the girl’s apology?

What lessons did the girl’s learn?

Several pages have bold words or phrases. Choose one, two or all of them. What do they mean to you personally or as it relates to the story? Adults remember to be willing to share your answers in a casual way with the child or instead of the child answering. Make it a personal sharing not a grilling. How do these emphasize a part of the story?

Additional Resources

Links to Activities and Learning

Tea Ceremonies

For Preschoolers:

Beauty and the Beast

For those in Toronto check out this very Canadian Tea House

Tea – N – Bannock Tea House