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Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Sweet Celebration of Life

Desser the Best Ever Cat by Maggie Smith

In this gentle story a little girl tells the story of her family cat Desser, the "best ever cat." He starts as a kitten before she is born and grows with her, experiencing her first steps, her first real bed, her first day at school. One day, when Desser is older and has slowed down a lot, he gets sick and passes away. The girl cries and, with her family, buries him under a tree. Her mother tells her that Desser will always be with her because he will always be in her heart. As time passes, the family adopts another kitten, Ginger, who is also pretty great. The little girl tells Ginger all about Desser, sharing the story of his life just as she has done for us as readers, and the happy, healthy cycle begins again.

Smith's narration is clear and her illustrations altogether fun, but the best part by far is her visual portrayal of Desser. Cat lovers everywhere will appreciate the bright, evocative pictures of Desser as he sprawls across the backs of chairs, hides in a box, and flattens his ears uncertainly when our narrator is brought home as a baby. I read this book with Ruby, and at every page I stopped to show her a new picture, saying, "My cat does that too!" Smith gets it, and she shares that understanding of the pet-owner relationship well.
My cat Socks, 17-years-old!

 Desser the Best Ever Cat is a good book to broach the subject of mortality with young kids, especially when pertaining to the loss of a pet. Though it touches a sad and emotional subject, Smith approaches it as a celebration of the life once lived, starting sweet and ending the same.


Age 4-8
Copyright April 2001
ISBN: 9780375810565
Image from www.bn.com

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