You Let the Cat Out of the Bag!

(And Other Crazy Animal Sayings)

From the Set Sayings and Phrases

Thanks to whimsical illustrations and everyday examples, kids can finally learn the true meanings behind such peculiar idioms as 'Great! You let the cat out of the bag!'

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  • Bats in the belfry
  • Birds of a feather flock together
  • Bring home the bacon
  • Can't hold a candle to
  • Cry over spilled milk
  • Dog days of summer
  • A drop in the bucket
  • Egg on your face
  • Fish or cut bait
  • Fly off the handle
  • Get your goat
  • Go the extra mile
  • Hit the nail on the head
  • In one ear and out the other
  • Keep your nose to the grindstone
  • Left out in the cold
  • Let the cat out of the bag
  • Long in the tooth
  • Nip it in the bud
  • Once in a blue moon
  • Pay through the nose
  • Pull a fast one
  • Rain check
  • Roll with the punches
  • A shot in the arm
  • Skeletons in the closet
  • Step on it
  • Take the bull by the horns
  • Toe the line
  • Upset the apple cart
  • White elephant
Interest Level Grade 2 - Grade 5
Reading Level Grade 3
Dewey 428
ATOS Reading Level 3.3
Guided Reading Level M
Language English
Publisher The Child's World, Inc.
Format Reinforced book, Hosted ebook
ISBN 9781592969036, 9781614737780
Copyright 2008, 2013
Number of Pages 24, 24
Dimensions 9.5 x 8, 9.5 x 8
Graphics Full-color illustrations

A noteworthy review of Sayings and Phrases from School Library Journal on April 1, 2008

Each volume features more than 30 commonly used but curious-sounding phrases. Following an introductory definition of the term ‘idiom,’ watercolor cartoons of googly-eyed children suggest the most apparent meaning of each phrase. Coupled with each picture is a short narrative that illustrates the phrase’s true meaning in context. The idiom’s meaning is then stated plainly in enlarged colorful type. While these books will not provide historical insight to those curious about the origins of English idioms, ESL students will find them useful in understanding a wide variety of the language’s colloquialisms. While ‘ants in your pants,’ ‘let your hair down,’ and most other phrases are likely to be encountered in everyday conversation, some phrases may strike even fluent English speakers as obscure (e.g., ‘loaded for bear,’ ‘sitting in a catbird seat’). In spite of the subtitle, not all of the phrases in You Let the Cat Out of the Bag! are animal related. Each title includes a table of contents that lists the idioms within. Slightly more informative than Catherine Snodgrass’s Super Silly Sayings That Are over Your Head (Starfish, 2004) and Laura Hambleton and Sedat Turhan’s Monkey Business: Fun with Idioms (Milet, 2007), these accessible titles will be useful in most collections.

Author: Cynthia Klingel

Cindy Klingel has been writing for The Child's World for more than 15 years. She also writes under the name C. Ann Fitterer. Most recently, Cindy has co-written more than 70 Child's World books with Bob Noyed. Cindy and Bob have written books in the Wonder Books Phonics Readers series, the Wonder Books Nonfiction series and the Spirit of America Our Presidents series. They also helped to develop The Spirit of America publishing program, which began in fall 2001. Cindy also helped to develop the Wonder Books publishing program. Cindy was born in Mankato, Minnesota. She lived for a short time in Minneapolis, where she worked in publishing. The rest of the time, she has lived in Mankato, which she believes is a great place to grow up! As a child, Cindy loved reading, writing and playing with friends. She enjoyed playing sports, especially softball and football! She also loved to dance. She was a dance student and then teacher for 17 years! In third grade, Cindy won an award in a national publishing contest sponsored by a large publishing company. It was then that she decided she would be an author when she grew up. In college, Cindy studied English and elementary education. Although she was interested in many things, she loved working with students. So she graduated with degrees in teaching. Cindy has been a public school educator for almost 20 years. She has worked for a Minnesota school district as a high school English teacher, an elementary teacher and is currently a curriculum director. She loves children's literature and makes regular visits to the children's section in bookstores and libraries. Cindy lives in Minnesota with her two daughters. When she is not working or busy being a mom, she can be found digging in one of her gardens, spending time with her many friends or with her nose in a good book.

Illustrator: Mernie Gallagher-Cole

Mernie Gallagher-Cole is a children's book illustrator living in West Chester, Pennsylvania. She loves drawing every day. Her illustrations can also be found on greeting cards, puzzles, e-books, and educational apps.