Desser the Best Ever Cat

by Maggie Smith, Illustrations by desser.gif

Knopf, April, 2001.
Picture Book, 40 pages.
ISBN: 0375810560
Ages 4 - 8

Desser the Best Ever Cat by Maggie Smith Desser, The Best Ever Cat, both written and illustrated by Maggie Smith will touch the heart of every person who has ever loved, and lost, a unique animal. Somehow of all the animals one has known, there is always one that leaves a feeling that one has had the privilege of a very special relationship with another species.

The story of Desser is told through the memory of a young woman who remembers a special cat that was already a member of the family when she was born. She narrates all the special things that Desser did through his point of view, and all cat owners will recognize his behavior. Each page has endearing illustrations of a black and white cat and a little girl growing up together. But like any pet, Desser begins to grow old and finally he becomes very sick. The little girl's distress is dealt with tenderly, but honestly. The illustrations show the cat's decline in a loving and straightforward way. The beloved animal dies one night, and the grieving little family buries him at the foot of his favorite tree.

The problem of dealing with grief and finding one's way back to a state of happiness is especially difficult for young minds, and this story would be very helpful in helping an adult explain death. Yet Ms. Smith handles the story in such a positive way, that this book should find its way to any family's bookshelf. It teaches acceptance of the inevitable in a sympathetic way that is sure to teach a very valuable and important lesson to a young child -- even if the problem of dealing with the death of a loved one is not expected in the near future. As a story that will teach sensitivity as well as reality, this story is an excellent choice.

--Sarah Reaves White

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This review was published in the May, 2001 of The Internet Writing Journal.

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