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.
Also reviewed by
Earth to Clunk by Pam Smallcomb, pictures by Joe Berger
What do you do when you get assigned a pen pal named Clunk who is from the planet Quazar? Well, first you make sure to send him something you won’t miss at all, like your big sister. Of course, he’ll send something back too, a Zoid that won’t stop following you. Then send him socks, dirty ones. That’ll teach him. You’ll get back Forps in return, they look kind of like striped socks and smell like dog food. You could try to confuse it by sending all sorts of odd things together, but beware of the confusion he will send back. Unfortunately, he may not like having your sister there and may send her back. Happily, the gob of goo he sent back with her will taste like ice cream. Perhaps it’s time to invite him for a sleepover?
Smallcomb uses just the right tone here to add to the humor. Her flat tone plays up the silly nature of the entire story, treating the alien piece of the story as if it were just a neighboring state that the boy is exchanging items with. The strange items he receives are also treated the same way.
Because of the flat nature of the writing, Berger’s illustrations have to pop and carry the true nature of what is happening. They definitely are successful in depicting the strange things that are going on. I particularly enjoyed that the Zoid and Forps continue to hang around in the book, watch out for the striped burp from the Zoid! Berger’s art has a classic feel that also adds to the humor of this space-age story.
A great science fiction picture book that will have children longing for their own pen pal from Quazar. Appropriate for ages 4-8.
Reviewed from copy received from Dial Books for Young Readers.
Also reviewed by You Know, For Kids.