Marlon Finds a Way by Dan Bailes

Have you ever watched a cat and wondered what is going on in its mind? Children's author Dan Bailes has! Dan Bailes recently released Marlon Finds a Way, a short chapter book about a cat named Marlon who wants to become friends with Silky the bird. Why would a cat want to become friends with a bird? What is Marlon thinking? In today's guest post Dan Bailes introduces us to Marlon, describes his book Marlon Finds a Way, and provides some discussion questions about the book you can use during your language arts lessons. Read on to learn more!

Comprehension questions and discussion questions for the children's book Marlon Finds a Way by Dan Bailes. Animal story. Fiction. Family pets.

This is a guest post written by author Dan Bailes. To learn more about guest posts, please read the Authors, Publishers, and Sponsors page. Disclosure: Affiliate links are included in this post.



Guest Post by Dan Bailes

Marlon is a cat on a quest. He’s determined to make friends with a sweet sparrow named Silky. Really? Can a cat and sparrow ever be friends? Well, Marlon has a plan and it’s about to take off. You’ll laugh at Marlon’s merry mischief and Silky’s cool quips in this funny animal adventure!

See, Marlon really likes Silky. But...
...when he strolls by, the sparrows all squawk, “Can’t trust a cat! Silky must scat!” How can he prove he just wants to be friends? Well, Marlon is full of ideas and dogged, for a cat. He won’t quit until he finds a way that works!

Marlon thinks bold! A cat of action! He takes to the sky... 
...and lands down in the dumps. Nothing seems to go his way. It gets so bad it makes him mad! Whoa! Who would want to be friends with a Mad Marlon? How can he learn to cool down when things heat up?

Now Marlon has a new plan and it’s about to take off!
Can he win Silky’s trust? Or will she just say, “No Way! Not today!” and fly away?

You’ll have to read the book to see what happens next. Marlon Finds a Way is a playful, heartwarming chapter book, perfect for kids 6-9 and cat lovers everywhere!

🍎 Author: Dan Bailes
🍎 Illustrator: Dan Bailes
🍎 Publisher: Nice Dog Books
🍎 Date: April 27, 2021
🍎 Pages: 75

Marlon Finds a Way by Dan Bailes

Life Lessons and Social Skills in Marlon Finds a Way 

Marlon Finds a Way is a humorous tale about an unlikely friendship between a cat named Marlon and a sparrow named Silky, that evolves from suspicion to trust. It’s full of funny moments, silly songs, and some marvelous Marlon high-jinx. Along the way, the story offers life lessons for building self-reliance, solving problems, and gaining a friend, as well as social skills for dealing with frustration and taming a temper.

In this section, you’ll find brief descriptions of the different life lessons and social skills contained in the story. Each description includes several questions teachers or parents can use to initiate further discussions.

Marlon the cat is looking at Silky the bird.

Building Self-Reliance

We see Marlon’s will to succeed, wit, and ingenuity as he looks for creative ways to attract Silky’s attention and show her that he wants to be friends. As his early efforts fail, he keeps trying with another approach and then another. Through his determination not to give up and ultimate success, Marlon shows children that they can harness their own abilities and efforts to achieve their goals.

Questions for Discussion

  1. When his first effort to win Silky’s friendship fails, what does Marlon do and why?
  2. Does Marlon ever ask for help? Who helps him and what do they tell him?
  3. What is self-reliance and how would you describe it? How does Marlon show self-reliance?

Marlon the cat is dreaming about Silky the bird.

Solving Problems

Marlon uses cat logic and reasoning to pursue his goal of making friends with Silky. Cat logic appears to be a naΓ―ve form of reasoning, which puts Marlon in some funny situations. But each time, he goes through the process of analyzing his problem, arriving at a potential solution, and following through to try to achieve his goal. When one attempt fails, he goes through the process again until he ultimately finds an approach that works. As children hear his thoughts and watch him in action, they learn how to use logic and reasoning to solve problems.

Questions for Discussion

  1. What is a plan and why does Marlon think he needs one?
  2. If you made a plan and it didn’t work, what would you do next?
  3. What problem is Marlon trying to solve? Does he solve it in the end? How?

Silky the bird

Gaining a Friend

When Marlon first tries to be friends with Silky, she doesn’t trust him because he’s a cat. So, Marlon decides to trick Silky into thinking that he’s just a big bird. After he fails at that, he discovers that his best option is to just be himself. He discovers they both have a sense of rhythm and, by making beats together, they enjoy their own sweet music. The story helps children understand that friendship blossoms when you respect the other person. And while that person may be different from you, there are many things you can do and enjoy together.

Questions for Discussion

  1. At the beginning of the story, Silky doesn’t trust Marlon. By the end she does. What made her change her mind?
  2. Why does Marlon try to fool Silky into thinking he’s a bird? Does it work? Why?
  3. Think about one of your friends. What do you like about that person? And what do they like about you?

Marlon the cat walking in the grass

Taming a Temper and Managing Anger

When Marlon feels frustrated or upset, he gets angry and lashes out, earning him the nickname, “Mad Marlon.” He realizes that if he can’t tame his temper, he’ll never gain Silky’s trust. When he asks for help, he gets two practical skills to help manage his angry behavior. The “Quiet Count” teaches him to count slowly before he reacts or shows his temper. The “Check It Out” teaches him to ask questions before deciding to act. Armed with the “Quiet Count” and “Check It Out,” Marlon learns that he can stay calm in the face of frustration and manage his angry feelings. Marlon Finds A Way shows children that when they’re upset and feeling frustrated, they can use these two powerful anger management skills to help them stay calm.

Questions for Discussion

  1. What happens when Marlon does the “Quiet Count?” Does it help? How?
  2. What happens when Marlon does the “Check It Out?” Does it help? How? 
  3. What happens when you get angry? Do you do anything to help your anger go away? What works best for you?

Silky is resting on a branch.

Coming Spring 2022... Book #2: Marlon and the Scary Something

Marlon and the Scary Something by Dan Bailes

There’s a Scary Something in the yard and Marlon is caught between fight and flight. Can he find the strength to believe in himself and face his fears? It’s a new, funny Marlon book full of cat wisdom, silly songs, and lots of furry fun! You’ll love this delightful story about finding courage, conquering fear, and getting back on your feet. A cozy cat adventure, written for kids 6-9 and cat lovers everywhere!

Dan Bailes, Author of Marlon Finds a Way

Dan loves to write funny stories for kids that also sneak in practical skills for navigating life’s little stumbling blocks. His heartwarming tales feature lovable animals and quirky siblings who must solve a problem or rise to a challenge. They’re colorful characters, ready to charm us with their mischievous antics and surprising insights. Dan puts it this way,

“I often fall in love with my characters and when they do something that might cause us to raise an eyebrow or wag a finger, I see it as an opportunity to help kids learn something important that can guide them on life’s journey. Each book sneaks in a few of those life lessons, like how to make a friend, tame a temper, believe in yourself, or move forward when fear tries to wrap you in a web of anxiety.”

Dan started Nice Dog Books with his canine companion KukkaTahti to tell stories and tickle funny bones. It has not escaped Kukka’s attention that their first few books feature a tiger and a cat. She’s expecting equal time for dogs. When they’re not busy writing or thinking silly thoughts, Dan and Kukka can often be spotted “going for a walk” on the streets of Washington, DC.


Did you enjoy this guest post about Marlon Finds a Way? If so, check out these blog posts for more books and activities about family pets:


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