Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Death of a Pet

The Best Cat in the World
Author: Lesléa Newman
Illustrator: Ronald Himler
Publisher: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

A child’s first experience with death is often the death of a family pet. In an attempt to comfort a child in pain, adults will often tell children they will get them another pet. Initially the idea of replacing the pet they loved, whether it was a dog, cat, rodent, or reptile is generally not very comforting. It ignores the unique bond the child has with their pet. Lesléa Newman’s, The Best Cat in the World, addresses the special relationship a child has with his pet and the feelings of loss after the pet dies. After Victor’s cat died, Victor’s mom suggests that, “Maybe it’s time for a new cat?” Victor says, “I don’t want a new cat. I want Charlie.” When a new kitten, named Shelley, needs a home, Victor decides that maybe it’s time for a new cat. As Shelley becomes a part of Victor’s life, he notices the differences between his cat Charlie and the new cat Shelley. Charlie slept in Victor’s bed, but Shelley sleeps in the windowsill. Shelley likes to snuggle into Victor’s neck, but Charlie would rather be draped over Victor’s back. Slowly Victor discovers the many differences between Charlie and Shelley. This discovery helps him love his new cat Shelley, while keeping a special place in his heart and in his yard under the rosebush for his old cat Charlie. Newman’s The Best Cat in the World is a wonderful story for children about love, loss and healing


  1. Hi Mary Jo,
    Thanks for posting a comment on my Mom's diary post. Your book covering the subject of death and grief will be so valuable to parents in helping their children cope in a supportive way with a fact of life we all have to face.Thanks for sharing and dropping by.

  2. Mary Jo...what a wonderful blog. Keep up the great work!

    Award-winning Children’s Author
    The Golden Pathway Story book Blog

  3. This has our grandson written all over it. Our cat Riley, a white Persian, came to live with us when our son was 16. Years later, Riley became our grandson's cat when he lived with us for several years. Riley's passing was a sad day as he was the best cat in the world to our grandson.
    Thanks for posting this, Mary Jo.

  4. A couple years ago I was searching for a book like this after our cat died suddenly, but never did come across anything that I found helpful. I'll have to keep this title in mind as we have another cat that is of advanced age.

    1. I think books like this are great to read to with children not only when they have experienced a loss, but just as a part of their regular reading. Loss is a part of life and sometimes its easier when faced with it, if it's already been part of the discussion.

  5. Hi Mary Jo,

    Thank you for visting my blog today.

    Have a great weekend.

    All the best,