SSAT Elementary Level Reading : How to Make Predictions Based on Poetry Passages

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SSAT Elementary Level Reading

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Main Idea, Details, Opinions, And Arguments In 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 of the following is most likely the moral of this fable?

Possible Answers:

A rolling stone gathers no moss.

Tricks should never be executed.

Do not count your chickens before they hatch.

Fox-hounds are smarter than cats.

It is better to do one thing effectively than one hundred things ineffectively.

Correct answer:

It is better to do one thing effectively than one hundred things ineffectively.


Even though the Fox brags that he has a hundred tricks, he is unable to escape the fox-hounds. On the other hand, the Cat only has one trick, but he is able to escape the fox-hounds simply by dashing up a tree where the fox-hounds could not reach him. The best answer choice is "It is better to do one thing effectively than one hundred things ineffectively."

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