The Day Tiger Rose Said Goodbye by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Jim LaMarche
A quiet, thoughtful book about the death of a pet, this is a beautiful way to explain death to a child. Through poetry that paints pictures of Tiger Rose’s days and her life as well, the story is told in special moments and connections. Tiger Rose is an old cat and she knows her time is drawing near. As she heads off, she takes the time to see her people family once again, time to bid farewell to the sleeping dog, and time to visit her favorite places to nap. At the end, she cleans herself from head to tail and stretches in the sun before curling up under the rosebushes. Then she rises into the sky, never once looking back.
Yolen takes time to really have this cat connect with her life, so readers can envision what she was like as a younger, more spry cat. The time is also important as children will need it to come to terms with what is happening. This book does not spring the cat’s death on readers, rather the book is all about the death and what leads up to it. It is about saying goodbye to a good life. Yolen’s writing is beautiful, aching and gentle. She whispers in this poem, sharing sweet moments, softly.
LaMarche’s art echoes that gentle softness with his delicate lines and glowing lighting. He celebrates Tiger Rose in her last day, allowing readers to celebrate too in her beauty and grace. His style is perfectly married to the subject here.
While this is another picture book on the already crowded death of a pet shelf, it takes a different approach to the subject and really honors what is happening in a beautiful and touching way. Appropriate for ages 4-8.
Reviewed from copy received from Random House.
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