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:


  • Parts of the first chapter are written in italics. Why has the author chosen to use them?
  • 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 beginning of the next chapter using some of those 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? Think of words to describe other animals that begin with the first letter of their name (e.g. ‘Snake – slim, slithery, sneaky’). Use one of your examples to make an alliterative sentence.
  • The monitor lizard teaches Sheena lots of things about wildlife. Think of an animal that could teach you something. Say what the animal is and explain what you could learn from it.
  • When you have read Chapter Four, carry out a role-play activity to discuss whether or not Sheena should have hidden away inside the Land Rover.
  • Write a diary entry from Sheena's point of view based on one of the chapters, or the whole story. Let her explain what was the favourite / least favourite part of what happened to her.
  • Plan a set of interview questions for someone who works at an African National Park. What would you like to ask them?
  • There are other books in this series. Could you write another story about some of the characters in this first story?


  •  The story includes lots of detailed information about a range of different creatures. Choose one of them and write a scientific description of it. 
  • Draw a labelled diagram of one of the animals in the story, using the illustrations of it in the book, and the facts we are given about it, to help you. 
  • Sheena isn't very well camouflaged because of her black and white coat. Think about some animals that have excellent camouflage. How does it help them?
  • Make a food chain that includes some of the animals in the story.
  • Think about the plants that are mentioned 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 Fifteen (Page 164), the eagle talks about aerodynamic forces. Can you explain in your own words what these are?


  • Use the information about the animals to make an interactive quiz (in Powerpoint or other software). Give a description of each animal and ask your friends to identify it.


  • There are lots of black and white illustrations in the book. Can you create your own illustrations for episodes in 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, e.g. sleeping, jumping? Use photos as a starting point if you wish (see Resources below).
  • Use the descriptions of the landscapes to draw / paint pictures of some of the places in the story.


  • The story is set in Baragandiri National Park. Can you find the locations of some 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. Try to persuade people to visit it.
  • 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 for 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 other Kiswahili words and their translations?



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