- Age Range: 5 - 8 years
- Grade Level: Kindergarten - 2
- Lexile Measure: 610 (What's this?)
- Paperback: 32 pages
- Publisher: Eerdmans Pub Co (February 28, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780802852946
- ISBN-13: 978-0802852946
- ASIN: 0802852947
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.2 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,612,541 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Best Cat in the World Paperback – February 28, 2006
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From the Back Cover
Even the best cat in the world doesn't live forever, and Victor is very sad when his beloved cat, Charlie, dies. His mother suggests getting a new cat, but Victor isn't so sure. Finally, when the vet tells Victor she has another cat that really needs a home, Victor agrees to give the new cat a chance.
But the new cat, Shelley, isn't like Charlie. She doesn't look like Charlie, or act like Charlie, or like to do the things Charlie used to do. With all these differences, is there any chance that Victor can learn to accept and love Shelley?
Leslea Newman's gentle story honors the full range of a child's feelings after losing a favorite pet, while Ron Himler's soft pencil and watercolor illustrations capture Victor's poignant emotions as well as the playful antics of his new kitten.
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Instead of focusing on the anguish of the child experiencing loss, I think these books need to be more about the animal's experience. For this, I can't recommend any book more than "The Day Tiger Rose Said Goodbye." It deals with the idea of death with far more grace, and has an ending that even I, as an atheist, can find comfort in.
If you're looking for a dog book, go for "Saying Goodbye to Lulu." While that one is also more about the kid, the death of the dog is less traumatic and seems more natural.
Charlie was a special cat for Victor, with set mannerisms and patterns Victor was used to. After Charlie died, the family buried him in the back yard, and Victor was nearly inconsolable. However, Victor's mother and the vet brought Victor together with another cat, Shelley, who had been dropped off at the office. At first Victor is very resistant, comparing Shelley to Charlie in somewhat unfavourable ways. `Charlie never did that,' Victor would think, as Shelley would do (or not do) as Charlie had done. However, felines have the kind of magic that works on a willing soul, and Victor comes to love the individuality in Shelley, without diminishing his love for his lost companion, Charlie. Shelley becomes heir to the title `Best Cat in the World', and rumbles purring in response in the same fashion as Charlie did.
The text is simple, sweet and very readable by children. The author Leslea Newman has penned several children's books, some with cats and some without. Ronald Himler, the illustrator, has provided his wonderful graphic pen for some seventy-five books; the drawings are charming and engaging, and enhance the story with a softness watercolours provide and detail that pencil can add.
This is a wonderful gift for children, particularly those who need to learn to deal with the kind of separation that a pet's death brings home. It does not make light of its subject, but does not dwell on the tragic, nor does it dishonour the cat who is gone by simple replacement. A wonderful book!
When the vet calls to ask if Victor would provide a home for Shelley, a brand-new tortoiseshell kitten, he is hesitant. Perhaps he won't like the kitten, or the kitten won't like him.
Victor brings home the multi-colored bundle of fur, and gradually adjusts to her ways, which often differ from Charlie's. She does not like to be scratched between the ears while she eats, as Charlie did. She prefers the windowsill to the special pillow on Victor's bed where Charlie used to sleep.
Soon, however, Victor begins to delight in Shelley's unique behaviors-how she plays with the water while he brushes his teeth and how she chases her own tail.
Himler's pencil-and-watercolors capture Victor's full range of emotion-concern and worry, grief, amusement, and joy--in this book that demonstrates how the human heart can have many rooms.