Big Cat, Little Cat – by Elisha Cooper


  Big Cat, Little Cat – by Elisha Cooper, Roaring Brook Press, (9781626723719), 2017.

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

Rating: 1-5:  (5 is an excellent or a Starred review)  5++

What did you like about the book? Using a deceptively simple story line, Cooper brilliantly portrays love and loss in a way that will resonate with young and old. A white cat lives alone in an apartment until the arrival of a little black kitten. The bigger cat greets the kitten and shows it, “When to eat, when to drink, where to go, how to be, when to rest.” The cats enjoy their life together, full of the things that cats enjoy. Eventually, the kitten grows even larger than the white cat. Cooper captures the nature of cats in her drawings and in describing how they spend their days. Then one day, the white cat, now old, “Had to go… and he didn’t come back.” It is hard on everyone. Several pages are devoted to feeling and accepting the loss. In due time, a new white kitten arrives. The black cat greets the kitten and provides the same caring instruction it had received, showing it, “When to eat, when to drink, where to go, how to be, when to rest.”  The spare elegant tale manages to portray the cycle of life, show how hard it is when a loved one dies, and provide reassurance and comfort. I am in awe of Elisha Cooper’s mastery.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  No.

To whom would you recommend this book?  This is recommended reading for anyone who recently lost a beloved pet (or person).

Readalikes: When the Wind Stops by Charlotte Zolotow, The Purple Balloon by Chris Raschka

Who should buy this book? This belongs in any collection of bibliotherapy books to help cope with grief.  It should be purchased in elementary school libraries and public libraries.

Where would you shelve it?  Shelve with picture books or if you have a section on Grief and Loss, put a copy there.

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Yes!

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Mary Melaugh, Marshall Middle School Library, Billerica, MA

Date of review:  4/15/17

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