Big Cat Pepper

Elizabeth Patridge

“Because of their loyalty and innocence, the death of a pet is especially poignant, and Partridge gets it just right with this tale of a boy and his beloved cat, Pepper. Using simple rhymes, the comforting daily routines described at the outset forewarn tragedy. Sure enough, one day Pepper no longer wants to play. Partridge does not sugarcoat what happens next: “Is he gonna die, Momma, / is he gonna die? / Mama said she thought so, / cry, oh cry.” The discovery of the dead animal is not shown, but we do see the boy cradling a wrapped bundle that he and his mother place into a flower-bed hole. The rest of the book entails the boy’s grief with emotional pencil illustrations of too-dark nights and too-empty rooms. It’s all pretty darn sad, but the story is buoyed by a stirring ending: hoping to understand Pepper’s “spirit,” the boy closes his eyes and realizes the breeze feels just like his cat’s fur and whiskers. Pets come and go; best to have this one on hand.”

Part of a Series? No
Age Level 5 — 6 — 7 — 8 — 9

This book is . . .