Big Cat Pepper

Elizabeth Partridge, Author, Lauren Castillo, Illustrator , illus. by Lauren Castillo. Bloomsbury $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59990-024-7

“Mama, me, and Pepper,/ always been this way/ Never been without him,/ even for a day,” says the young narrator in introducing the main characters of this rhyming story. But Pepper, a big tabby cat, is “way too old” and within a few pages, he dies. Partridge (Whistling ) and Castillo (Buffalo Music ) don't try to smooth over or rush through the loss, giving their boy protagonist the respect his love and loss deserve (he comes to understand that Pepper will remain “always in my heart”). But the book doesn't make much of an impression. Castillo's mixed-media domestic scenes, rendered in muted tones and composed mostly along the same, prosceniumlike plane, provide reassurance and emotional ballast for both the narrator and readers, as the boy and his mother care for the cat during its final days and bury it in the flower bed. The problem lies with Partridge's singsongy rhymes, which lack even a glimmer of plainspoken eloquence. Passages like “Evenings are so lonely,/ bedtime is the worst./ So full-up with sadness,/ I think I'm gonna burst” feel pat and halfhearted. Ages 3–8. (May)

Reviewed on: 04/27/2009
Release date: 05/01/2009
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.