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
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