Sid is a black cat and lives at Number 1 Aristotle Street. He also lives at numbers 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6…
With admirable arrogance, Sid has adopted an entire street as his own. Not content with popping in for food occasionally he has created a sextet of alter-egos, each with its own name, personality and favourite dinner. “As Sooty he smooched, but as Schwartz he had to act rough and tough.” Each night he heads off for his six dinners, “rounding at off at number 6 with beef and kidney stew”. Life is pretty much perfect for Sid, until he comes down with a cough, and is taken six times, in six different ways, to the same local vet. With his secret exposed, Sid’s owners sternly restrict him to only one dinner a day. Sid, however, has other ideas.
Sid’s efforts to claim meals from most of the neighbourhood will strike a chord with all cat owners, and children will admire Sid’s cunning and resourcefulness. The written style is simple, but the lists of Sid’s dinners and names, as well as the constant emphasis of the number six, make for very effective reading. This is echoed in the illustrations, neatly stacked in squares like a comic book and showing the six different ways Sid travels to the vet, as well as the six spoonfuls of medicine he is forced to endure!
Six Dinner Sid won the Smarties Prize when first published, and is now a staple of Early Years teaching. Despite the simple story, there is a lot of potential for discussion, particularly around the personalities in Aristotle Street. The drawings of the various owners show how different they are, and it is the fact that they don’t talk to each other that allows Sid to get away with six dinners for so long. In his new home at the end of the book everyone talks to everyone else, and they all know and accept Sid’s behaviour. If you are reading this with a slightly older child, why not chat with them about this? Or perhaps talk about Sid’s antics – is it right that he manipulates everybody in the way that he does? How would you feel if you were Sid and your secret were found out?
This is a highly enjoyable book with enough humour for adults and one easy to read with plenty of expression. With older children it has the depth for discussion, but the detailed illustrations and fluent text should make it accessible for toddlers as well.