All SSAT Elementary Level Reading Resources
Example Question #2 : Poetry Passages
Adapted from The Cat and the Fox by Jean de la Fontaine (1678)
The Cat and the Fox once took a walk together,
Sharpening their wits with talk about the weather
And as their walking sharpened appetite too,
They also took some things they had no right to.
Cream, that is so delicious when it thickens,
Pleased the Cat best. The Fox liked little chickens.
With stomachs filled, they presently grew prouder,
And each began to try to talk the louder,
Bragging about his skill, and strength, and cunning.
"Pooh!" said the Fox. "You ought to see me running.
Besides, I have a hundred tricks. You Cat, you!
What can you do when Mr. Dog comes at you?"
"To tell the truth," the Cat said, "though it grieve me
I've but one trick. Yet that's enough—believe me!"
There came a pack of fox-hounds, yelping, baying.
"Pardon me", said the Cat. "I can't be staying.
This is my trick." And up a tree he scurried,
Leaving the Fox below a trifle worried.
In vain, he tried his hundred tricks and ruses
(The sort of thing that Mr. Dog confuses),
Doubling, and seeking one hole, then another,
Smoked out of each until he thought he'd smother.
At last as he once more came out of cover,
Two nimble dogs pounced on him—all was over!
What pleased the Cat?
We learn in the first paragraph that what pleases the Cat the best is "cream, that is so delicious when it thickens." The best answer choice is "cream!"
Example Question #1 : Locating Details In Poetry Passages
Adapted from “The Duel” by Eugene Field (1888)
The gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat;
'Twas half-past twelve, and (what do you think!)
Not one nor t'other had slept a wink!
The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate
Appeared to know as sure as fate
There was going to be a terrible spat.
(I wasn't there; I simply state
What was told to me by the Chinese plate!)
The gingham dog went "bow-wow-wow!"
And the calico cat replied "mee-ow!"
The air was littered, an hour or so,
With bits of gingham and calico,
While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place
Up with its hands before its face,
For it always dreaded a family row!
(Now mind: I'm only telling you
What the old Dutch clock declares is true!)
The Chinese plate looked very blue,
And wailed, "Oh, dear! What shall we do?"
But the gingham dog and the calico cat
Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
Employing every tooth and claw
In the awfullest way you ever saw--
And, oh! how the gingham and calico flew!
(Don't fancy I exaggerate!
I got my views from the Chinese plate!)
Next morning where the two had sat
They found no trace of the dog or cat;
And some folks think unto this day
That burglars stole the pair away!
But the truth about the cat and the pup
Is this: They ate each other up!
Now what do you really think of that!
(The old Dutch clock, it told me so,
And that is how I came to know.)
According to the speaker, why were the calico cat and the gingham dog nowhere to be found in the morning?
They had eaten each other up.
They had moved to a new house.
They had run away in the night.
Their owner had taken them to the vet.
They had been stolen by a burglar.
They had eaten each other up.
The last verse of the poem talks about where the dog and cat were in the morning: “Next morning where the two had sat \ they found no trace of the dog or cat; \ and some folks think unto this day \ that burglars stole the pair away! But the truth about the cat and the pup \ is this: They ate each other up!” The author tells us that many people thought they had been stolen by burglars, but in fact they were not there because they had eaten each other up.
Example Question #4 : Poetry Passages
Adapted from "A Good Boy" by Robert Louis Stevenson (1913)
I woke before the morning, I was happy all the day,
I never said an ugly word, but smiled and stuck to play.
And now at last the sun is going down behind the wood,
And I am very happy, for I know that I've been good.
I know that, till to-morrow I shall see the sun arise,
No ugly dream shall fright my mind, no ugly sight my eyes.
But slumber hold me tightly till I waken in the dawn,
And hear the thrushes singing in the lilacs round the lawn.
For how long did the narrator play?
The narrator did not play at all during the day he describes.
In the first sentence, we learn that the main character woke up quite early ("I woke before the morning") and was "happy all the day." In the next sentence, we discover that he "smiled and stuck to play" until "the sun [was] going behind the wood." Thus, the best answer choice is "all day."