Sunday, March 18, 2012
Book Review: The Day Tiger Rose Said Goodbye
The Day Tiger Rose Said Goodbye
By: Jane Yolen and Jim LaMarche
Published by: Random House; Date: 2011
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by: Wayne S. Walker
Synopsis: Have you ever experienced the death of a pet cat or dog? Tiger Rose is a gray striped tabby cat. She was born in the city but now lives in the country with a boy and a girl who love her, a dog named Rowf who tolerates her, and two grown-ups named Mom and Pop who let her sit on the sofa as long as she doesn’t use her claws. She is surrounded by bushes, pine trees, butterflies, blue jays, moles, voles, chipmunks, snakes, starlings, ants, bees, sparrows, and goldfinches.
However, Tiger Rose has grown old and tired and slow. Her kitten days are so long ago that they are only small sparks of memory. Her legs sometimes hurt, and she no longer has an appetite for chasing food. One soft, spring day, she knows that it is time to say goodbye. “It is time,” she says to Rowf who is lying on the porch. She says goodbye to Mom and Pop as they drive off in their cars. She says farewell to the boy and girl as they walk to school. She says goodbye to all the rest of her friends. Finally, she cleans herself from head to tail, lies down under the roses, curls up into a ball, and falls asleep. What will happen then?
Overall thoughts: The loss of a beloved pet is a difficult time for children, and sometimes for many of us who are older too. When I was growing up, we had lots of cats and a few dogs, so we had our share of kids’ pet funerals. In the last almost twenty or so years, we have had three house cats in our family, and when the first two passed on each instance was hard on our boys. Author Jane Yolen, whose Owl Moon won a Caldecott Medal, tells a very touching and sensitive story, beautifully illustrated by the pastel drawings by Jim LaMarche, which will help to provide a sense of peace and comfort to a child whose pet has died. Yes, the book is sad, and I must admit to having eyes blurred by tears when I finished it, but I heartily recommend it as a tender, loving tale that can well be called “as much a celebration of life as of its gentle end.”
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