Cover image for Rocky : the cat who barks
Rocky : the cat who barks
Napoli, Donna Jo, 1948-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Dutton Children's Books, [2002]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : illustrations ; 28 cm
Rocky the dog has a difficult life when he first moves into a house with five cats.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.3 0.5 57171.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



He has just moved into a new house with two bratty kids and five - FIVE! - mean cats. The kids are loud and scary. The cats gang up on him, eating his food and ruining his favourite things. Rocky feels lonely and sad. But one day, the kids start doing something they know they shouldn't. When the teasing goes just a little too far, Rocky saves the day . . . and wins some grateful feline friends. Now Rocky is an honorary cat - a cat who says "Arf!" Award-winning children's writer Donna Jo Napoli teams up with her sister Marie Kane and illustrator Tamara Petrosino to create this spunky, endearing pup whose heart is as big as his bark.

Author Notes

Donna Jo Napoli was born on February 28, 1948. She received a B.A. in mathematics, an M.A. in Italian literature, and a Ph.D. in general and romance linguistics from Harvard University. She has taught on the university level since 1970, is widely published in scholarly journals, and has received numerous grants and fellowships in the area of linguistics.

In the area of linguistics, she has authored five books, co-authored six books, edited one book, and co-edited five books. She is also a published poet and co-editor of four volumes of poetry. Her first middle grade novel, Soccer Shock, was published in 1991. Her other novels include the Zel, Beast, The Wager, Lights on the Nile, Skin, Storm, Hidden, and Dark Shimmer. She is also the author of several picture books including Flamingo Dream, The Wishing Club: A Story About Fractions, Corkscrew Counts: A Story About Multiplication, The Crossing, A Single Pearl, and Hands and Hearts. She has received several awards including the New Jersey Reading Association's M. Jerry Weiss Book Award for The Prince of the Pond and the Golden Kite Award for Stones in Water.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Ages 3-6. Don't believe the title. Rocky is really a dog, who enjoys his quiet life until his owner, Old Nini, moves into an apartment where dogs aren't allowed. Rocky calls his new owners, a mean-spirited brother and sister, "little monsters." Five vicious cats who live in the house make matters worse; they treat poor Rocky even worse than the little monsters do. He's quite miserable until the day the children decide to dress the cats up in baby clothes and stuff them into a backpack--and Rocky comes to the rescue. After that Rocky becomes one of the cat gang, and they all live happily ever after. Petrosino's lively cartoon illustrations add a silly slapstick flavor to this energetic story. Exaggerated facial expressions and body language are used to great effect, enabling preschoolers to "read" this delightful tale on their own. --Lauren Peterson

Publisher's Weekly Review

Napoli (How Hungry Are You?) and Kane, Napoli's sister, address the problems of aging owners and needy pets in this sympathetic story of a black-and-white dog. At first, Rocky enjoys a sedate life with an elderly woman, Old Nini. But when Nini must move to a no-dogs apartment, Rocky winds up in a new house with two "little monsters" (i.e., children) and five surly cats who are bigger than he is. The children pummel Rocky with blocks; the cats hiss at him and ruin his chew toys. "Rocky spent most of his time behind the couch, silent," curled up on "the blankie that Old Nini had knitted." By mentioning the homemade blanket, the authors shed light on Rocky's sorrow without speculating on Nini's fate. They evoke concern for his lonely situation, then show how he gains honorary feline status by barking when the children torment the cats ("the little monsters' mother came running [and] scolded them"). Petrosino (Rabbit Stew) contributes cheerful watercolors, outlined in a graceful black line, that establish Rocky and the cats as distinctive and likeable personalities. The plot strongly resembles last fall's Widget, another story of a dog appeasing a cat clique, but the attention to Rocky's lost home lends the book a particular poignancy. Ages 3-7. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved