Señor Don Gato

by Vicky on September 22, 2012

How had I ever managed to miss this delicious ditty??  I recently stumbled upon this delightful picture book of the traditional ballad, Señor Don Gato, illustrated by John Manders, and I couldn’t wait to try staging it with my puppets.  It would be a great way to kick off my fall story times, and also a chance to slip in a message about SINGING as an important pathway to reading readiness (along with talking, playing, reading and writing).

With the kids and parents chiming in on the chorus, “Meow, meow, meow,” we romped through this ridiculous corrido.

I felt that the song ended much too abruptly, with the poor lady cat unceremoniously dumped from the story, so I added an extra verse to give it a happier ending.

Oh, Señor Don Gato was a cat,
On a high red roof Don Gato sat,
He went there to read a letter,
Meow, meow, meow,
Where the reading light was better,
Meow, meow, meow,
T’was a love note for Don Gato.

“I adore you,” wrote the lady cat,
Who was fluffy, white, and nice and fat,
There was not a sweeter kitty,
Meow, meow, meow,
In the country or the city,
Meow, meow, meow,
And she said she’d wed Don Gato.

Oh, Don Gato jumped so happily,
He fell off the roof and broke his knee,
Broke his ribs and all his whiskers,
Meow, meow, meow,
And his little solar plexus,
Meow, meow, meow,
“¡Ayyy caramba!!! ” cried Don Gato.

Then the doctors all came on the run,
Just to see if something could be done,
And they held a consultation,
Meow, meow, meow,
About how to save their patient,
Meow, meow, meow,
How to save Señor Don Gato.

But in spite of everything they tried,
Poor Señor Don Gato up and died,
And it wasn’t very merry,
Meow, meow, meow,
Going to the cemetery,
Meow, meow, meow,
For the ending of Don Gato.

As the funeral passed the market square,
Such a smell of fish was in the air,
Though his burial was slated,
Meow, meow, meow,
He became re-animated,
Meow, meow, meow,
He came back to life Don Gato.

Then  they danced a light fandango there,
After dining in the market square,
And the wedding bells were ringing,
Meow, meow, meow,
And the kitty choir was singing,
Meow, meow, meow,
For Señor—and Señora—Don Gato!

At the end, we celebrated their wedding with rhythm instruments and a rousing dance party to the music of Los Kiyos on their Barrio Flamenco album: “Baila Con Sabor.”  My playlist included flamenco music by Paco Peña, Gino D’Auri, and Bebo and Cigala, punctuated with cries of “¡Olé!” and “¡Así se baila!”

Then the kids made fabulous Don Gato paper bag puppets that had perfect mouths for singing!

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