Paka Mdogo (Little Cat)

Age Range: 5 - 11

A clever and cheeky little black and white cat who sneaks off on an African safari with the Allen family... Her journey into the heart of Baragandiri in search of the Allens, after she has become separated from them...Terrifying encounters (mainly involving teeth) with the wild animals there- Nyanya, an old but ferocious lioness, who plans to attack Thomas and Amy, the Allen children, while they are asleep in their tent-,,,Only Sheena can save the children. But first she must find them.

Book Author: H.S. Toshack

See More Books from this author

Teaching Ideas and Resources:


  • Many of the chapters in the story are named after a different animal. Could you write a story using a similar format?
  • Parts of the story are written in italics. Why has the author chosen to do this?
  • The first chapter hints at some events that will take place later in the story. Can you predict what they might be? Could you write the next part of the book using these ideas?
  • In Chapter 2, cats are described as being Choosey, Cautious and Curious. Can you think of other words beginning with 'C' that could describe a cat. Could you think of words to describe other animals that begin with the first letter of their name? Could you use these to make an alliterative sentence?
  • Write a diary entry from Sheena's point of view based on one of the chapters, or the whole story. What was her favourite / least favourite part of the adventure?
  • The monitor lizard teaches Sheena lots of things about wildlife where they live. If an animal could teach you something, what could you learn from it?
  • Carry out a role play activity to discuss whether Sheena should hide away inside the Land Rover or not.
  • The family make up tongue twisters to pass the time on their journey. Could you make up some of your own?
  • Plan a set of interview questions for someone who works at an African National Park. What would you like to ask them?
  • The warthogs speak with 'brevity'. What does this mean?
  • There are other books in this series. Could you write another story about the same characters?


  • The story includes lots of detailed information about a range of different creatures. Can you use this to make a report about one ore more of them?
  • Draw a labelled diagram of one of the animals in the story, using the facts in the story to help you with your labels.
  • Sheena isn't very well camouflaged because of her black and white coat. Can you find out about animals that have excellent camouflage? How does this help them?
  • Make a food chain that includes some of the animals in the story.
  • Think about the plants that can be found in the story (e.g. the baobab mentioned in Chapter 9). How are they similar / different to plants that grow in your local area?
  • In Chapter 15, the animals talk about different forces. Can you explain what these are?


  • Use the information about the animals to make an interactive quiz (in Powerpoint or other software). Can your friends identify an animal that is being described?


  • There are a number of black and white illustrations in the book. Can you create your own illustrations for parts of the story in a similar style?
  • There are lots of illustrations of Sheena taking part in different activities. Can you draw your own pictures of cats in different positions? Use photos as a starting point?(see Resources below).
  • Use the descriptions of the landscapes to draw / paint pictures of the places in the story.


  • The story is set in Baragandiri National Park. Can you find the locations of other national parks in your country and around the world? What different plants and animals can be found there?
  • Create a travel guide to the area in which the story is set. Can you persuade people to visit there?
  • How is the weather in this area similar / different to where you live? How does the weather influence the lives of the people (and animals) living there?
  • Sheena lives at an International School. How is this similar / different to your school? Can you find the location of any International Schools in your area?
  • Sheena's family go camping in Africa. Make a list of things that you might need if you were to go too.
  • Look at the map showing Sheena's journeys throughout the story. Could you make a similar map a book that you like? or for a story of your own?


  • There are many Kiswahili words in the story. Could you use these to make a dictionary? Can you find out other words and their translations?



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