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Desser the Best Ever Cat


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About the Author

Maggie Smith: cat person and author and illustrator of many fine books for children.

"From the Hardcover Library Binding edition."


In Smith's (Dear Daisy: Get Well Soon) affecting tribute to Dexter, a beloved pet, a girl narrator unspools "Desser's" history while weaving in family stories, such as her own arrival as a newborn ("When I first came home from the hospital, Desser wasn't sure if he liked me"), her new mobility as a toddler ("He wasn't too happy when I first started walking") and the two bonding at last ("but he was glad when I got my big bed" shows the feline cuddled on top of the youngster). Smith's cheerfully detailed art, a rush of bright colors and intricate patterns on fabrics and wallpaper and arranged like a scrapbook, convincingly reaffirms the mutual affection between child and pet, as well as child and parents, and charts the momentous events of their lives (the first day of school, the arrival of another sibling, etc.). The artwork manages to imbue the cat with expression and personality while remaining true to the animal's nature. The tone of pictures and text saddens when the cat begins to age, and Smith's expert handling of the family's grief and their communication about their feelings of loss will aid any child or adult experiencing a similar situation. This tale with its agile balance of humor and pathos and its emphasis on the importance of both treasuring memories and beginning anew will reassure children who have endured the loss of a pet. Ages 5-8. (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

"An agile balance of humor and pathos."--"Publishers Weekly, " Starred

"Put this tender story on the shelf right next to Judith Viorst's "The Tenth Good Thing About Barney"."--"Booklist"

"This book is a must for anyone who has ever had a beloved cat. Grab a tissue and enjoy this beautiful story with your child."--"Bookselling This Week"

PreS-Gr 2-A girl honors the life of a much-loved pet by telling Desser's story, from the time her father found him when he was still single to his death as an elderly cat. As she talks about all the things she and Desser liked to do together, snapshotlike illustrations of the pair are spread across the pages. In essence, this is a scrapbook documenting the long years of friendship between a child and her pet, including their ups and downs, which saves the book from becoming saccharine. As Desser ages, he goes blind in one eye, and sometimes loses big tufts of fur. The pictures show an older girl who understands that she must handle her old friend gently. The artwork is sometimes overly sweet, but always pleasingly detailed, which lends an air of truth to the story. Desser's house and his family are depicted as comfortably messy with lots of homespun prints and patterns as colorful accents. Those who look carefully will see the girl and cat reading some favorite titles, including Puss in Boots and Millions of Cats. The reassuring message here is that loved pets live on in our memories. This will be a welcome addition for children coping with the loss of an animal, but it stands on its own as a charming story of one cat's life.-Alison Kastner, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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