Monday, July 17, 2017
BIG CAT, little cat, written and illustrated by Elisha Cooper. Roaring Brook Press, Macmillan. Raincoast. 2017. $23.99 ages 3 and up
"The cat showed the new
cat what to do.
When to eat,
when to drink,
where to go,
how to be,
when to rest.
Big cat, little cat."
In spare and elegant prose Elisha Cooper helps his young audience make sense of the cycle of life. His introduction to the big white cat and its daily routines is quiet and pleasing. Then, one day, a black kitten arrives. The kitten has much to learn, and the white cat is a firm and gentle teacher. The two share their space with aplomb. The little one grows, and is soon the bigger of the two. They soldier on, sharing space and the doings of feline companions.
"... every day there was work.
Cooking, cleaning, climbing,
hunting, exploring, making plans. "
And they don't forget to play ... until, after many years, the older one is forever gone. He leaves much sadness in his wake.
Soon, a tiny white kitten arrives and life with two cats begins again. Astute readers will not miss the cyclical nature of the story, or the thought that the same thing might happen again.
Mr. Cooper, obvious cat fancier and student of their presence, uses thick lined drawings in black and white to provide personality for these friendly, occasionally frisky, felines. He ably captures the grief felt by one for the other, and then for everyone else in the house.
Tender and reassuring, this is a lovely look at life with pets ... and without them. It is sure to assuage a hurting heart.