Kids Yoga Story: Tabby McTat by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

Tabby McTat Story Yoga Flow with Stick Figures

Tabby McTat is a cat with the loudest of meee-ews and a best friend with a guitar. Together they sing their favorite songs delighting the crowds, until one day Fred disappears. Separated and alone, Tabby finds shelter and a new life with all the home comforts that any cat could dream of. However, memories of his life with Fred haunt him, and he sets off to search the streets for his long-lost friend. Enjoy the story with twenty-two kids yoga poses!

Tabby McTat was a busker’s cat with a miaow that was loud and strong (Cat: Come to hands and knees. Tuck the toes and arch the back round, looking into our middle). The two of them sang of this and that, and people threw coins in the old hat (Guitar: Sitting with legs out long, reach forward and take hold of one of your legs, drawing the shin across the body. Use one hand to support the foot as if it were the neck of the guitar and strum across the shin as if you were strumming your guitar’s strings). One morning, while Fred the busker, ate some bacon and bread (Eating: Sitting with our legs crossed, we fold forwards keeping our back long to rest on our elbows and enjoy eating something delicious), McTat took a stroll round the block.

Then he stopped as he saw a green-eyed cat. She was black with one snowy white sock (Cat: Come to hands and knees. Tuck the toes and arch the back round, looking into our middle). Sock and McTat has a chat and that is how their story began. In the meantime, a thief had his eye on the old hat (Bad Guy: Standing on one leg we lift our arms like we have claws for fingers). He eyed it, snatched it and ran (Roadrunner: Standing up, fold forwards and place your hands down either side of your feet. Step one of your legs back and bend your front knee down into a lunge. Lift your chest)! The busker ran after him but he tripped on a lace and crash (Running: Standing tall and lifting opposite knee and arm, we run. On the spot is usually best)! He ended up in a hospital bed in a faraway part of town (Bed: Sitting on your bottom, with your knees bent, feet flat and hands behind you. Lift your hips up). “Goodbye, I must get back to Fred” McTat said. But where had the busker gone? The sun went down. The moon and stars came out (Crescent Moon: We stand up tall, feet together and reach our arms up above us. Then we lift and lean over to one side, still pointing upwards as much as possible / Star: Standing tall with your legs wide and arms outstretched. You are a big sparkly star), but he didn’t come back.

A week later, Sock took a stroll round the block and found her new friend looking thin. “he’s gone off and left me!” said McTat. Then Sock said “My people, Prunella and Pat, would gladly find room for a fine tabby cat.” She was right, and they took McTat in. Next morning, old Fred left his hospital bed and looked all round for his cat. But Tabby McTat wasn’t there!

Now McTat had a wife and a very full life with plenty of things to do… like pouncing on Pat (Frog: Up on your toes, crouching down, with your knees out wide and use your hands for balance and hop!), hiding the car keys under the mat (Thread the Needle: On your hands and knees in table pose, slide the right hand between the left hand and left knee. Slide the arm all the way out to the left so that the right shoulder and side of the head rest comfortably on the floor. Reach the left hand up towards the ceiling), keeping the newspapers nice and flat (Happy Baby: Lying on our backs, we bend our knees and take hold of our feet, keeping the soles of our feet facing up to the sky), nibbling delicious foods (Pat head/Rub Tummy: Sitting with our legs crossed, we roll a hand round and round on our tummies, then we pat our heads at the same time)… but he dreamed of his friend with the old hat and always woke up with a mew. His paws took him back to the square, but a conjuror stood where they once sat (Magic Fingers: Clench the hands into fists. Then open the hands and spread the fingers wide, wiggle the fingers and thumbs). And people threw coins in the tall black hat, but the busker was never there.

One morning Sock said “Look under the bed and see the three kittens I have had!” (Child’s Pose: Sit on your heels, slowly bring your forehead down to rest in front of your knees, rest your arms down alongside your body) The littlest kitten called Samuel Sprat looked exactly the same as his dad. He had a deafening miaow and a very loud purr. He simply loved singing with his dad. Samuel’s sister and brother found very good homes (House: Standing with your legs wide, hands together above your head, making a pointy roof). Their parents were happy and proud. But nobody wanted poor Samuel. They all said “His voice is too loud.”

Now Tabby McTat was a home-loving cat. But he could not stop dreaming of Fred. One day, he called his wife and his son and told them “I must go and find him.” He wandered a whole weeklong all over town (Tiger tucks/Cat Walking: On all fours, draw the opposite knee and elbow in to the core) till he heard a familiar song…

“Just me and the old guitar.

If I had a cat I’d be happier far.

Just me and the old guitar.

With my cat I’d be happier far.” (Guitar: Sitting with legs out long, reach forward and take hold of one of your legs, drawing the shin across the body. Use one hand to support the foot as if it were the neck of the guitar and strum across the shin as if you were strumming your guitar’s strings)

“It is Tabby McTat, my long-lost cat!” They hugged each other (Hugs: We wrap our arms around our body to give everybody a great big hug). The two of them sang together while people threw coins in the new hat. But McTat felt sad. He was missing his wife and his comfortable life. But how could he tell the busker that? Then out from a shadow sprang Samuel Sprat. “Oh please let me be the busker’s cat!” he said with a deafening mew (Chair prayer: Standing with feet together or a bit apart, bend the knees and bring your hands together at your heart).

Now Samuel Sprat is the busker’s cat with a miaow that is loud and strong. The two of them sing this and that… “Me, you and the old guitar, how perfectly, perfectly happy we are…” (Dancing Cat: Coming onto hands and knees, tuck the toes. Stretch one leg back and bend at the knee so the foot points up. Lift the foot as much as possible. Then, reach round with the opposite arm and see if you can catch the lifted foot).

Relaxation:

What a poetic story of love, adventure and music! When Tabby finally finds Fred, he is torn between Sock and the lonely busker. All is resolved when the littlest kitten begs to be the busker’s cat. It is a heart-warming tale of friendship and loyalty. How important it is to have good friends in life… to know that they are there when you need them. This friend of you does not have to be a human, indeed. It might be your cat, dog, bird or fish and listens to you and share your feelings with you. Now may be you would like to visualize a friend who is dear to you and send your love to her/him… and you might think how lucky you are to have him/her in your life. When you are ready move your fingers and toes, hug your knees into your chest. Roll over onto your side. We press ourselves up to sit, crossing our legs. We bring our hands together at our heart. Thank you for doing yoga with me today. Namaste!