Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Big Cat Pepper

If you are both a parent and a pet owner, the very worst is bound to happen at some point. Your beloved furry or feathered companion will pass away and your children will very likely be left confused and scared. This book is a friendly way to introduce the idea that animals don't live forever.

This sweet little boy has a soft gray cat named Pepper. His entire life has been spent with his cat, never a day away. They play secret games together daily and the boy has come to depend on the friendship. But one day Pepper isn't quite so peppy and starts to sleep more and eat less. The next week he quits his rumbly purr and refuses to drink any water. The boy's mama explains what Pepper is going through and what will probably happen in the next couple days.

After Pepper dies, the boy and his mama choose a special spot and bury him in the flower bed, covering him with blossoms. He is nervous for Pepper, but she reassures him that Pepper's spirit will live forever. Every day the boy mourns for his cat and misses him terribly at bedtime. He feels close to bursting with his sadness, and the ache in his chest just won't go away.

It is a long time before the boy is able to focus on the good times with his cat and the tight hold on his chest loosens. He pictures Pepper's spirit flying free and can hear his purr in the wind that whispers through the air. He is content knowing that although Pepper does not live here on Earth any longer, he will live on in his heart forever.

This is a very touching and well thought out book. The mixed-media illustrations are warm and realistic, printed on uncoated paper. Altogether, a lovely and therapeutic choice for any family.

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