illustrations by Jim LaMarche
To say I am astonished that this book is finally coming out is an understatement. It literally took years to find the right editor and when it did, she (Heidi Kilgras of Random House) became so lovingly invested in the story and in finding the right artist for it, my own investment was returned many-fold. It’s a dying cat story, and trust me, over the past 50 years I have had to deal with many wonderful cats saying goodbye to me. Some lingeringly, some cut off in their prime, and some simply lost—to owls, to dogs, to coyotes—we never knew.
Originally the book was called “The Day Tiger Rose Went to Cat Heaven” and it was Heidi Kilgras who got me to drop that semi-Disneyfied ending to the rather more cosmic one it now has. The book is a tone poem to all the cats I have known and loved. Heidi K told me that when she read the book to the hard-nosed sales staff at their semi-annual sales meeting, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Wow!
What reviewers have said:
- *STARRED REVIEW* “Approaching a subject that many prefer to avoid, Yolen writes with precision and tenderness…A quiet tribute to the passage from life into death and, potentially, a comfort to children facing the death of a pet.”—Starred review BookList
- *STARRED REVIEW* “On a sunny day in spring, an elderly cat named Tiger Rose knows that her death is near. Tired and slow, she’s been troubled by pains in her legs and a ringing in her ears. She walks around her home in the country, saying goodbye to the parents and children, their sleeping dog, and a scolding blue jay. After greeting the moles, voles, and other animals with unaccustomed gentleness, Tiger Rose lies down beneath the rosebushes and, leaving her body behind, “she was gone, now part of the earth, the air, the sky, the sun– and all.” Approaching a subject that many prefer to avoid, Yolen writes with precision and tenderness. The calm tone of the text is just right: matter-of-fact but compassionate. Reflecting the delicate beauty of the writing, LaMarche’s mixed-media illustrations show equal finesse in line, color, texture and composition. Nearly every picture seems suffused with soft, golden light. The endpapers bracket the story in a fitting way, depicting a bird’s eye view of the farm, first at dawn and then in the evening. A quiet tribute to the passage from life into death and, potentially, a comfort to children facing the death of a pet.”—School Library Journal starred review
- “The story is quiet and loving without becoming either maudlin or technical. Preschool readers experiencing their first loss will appreciate the pastel illustrations and particularly the cleverly constructed final page, which shows Tiger Rose’s face hidden in the clouds.”—ParentWise
- “A beautifully written peaceful book about the death of a beloved pet and the celebration of a life lived well.”—KidsBookshelf.com
- “Told through a series of gentle paintings and lyrical narration, The Day Tiger Rose Said Goodbye is a wise story that celebrates both the peace found in death and the beauty inherent in life. Nowhere in this story is there a trace of regret or even sadness as Tiger Rose visits her favorite people and places for one last time – indeed, each event seems more precious for its finality. More than a picture book for cat lovers, The Day Tiger Rose Said Goodbye is an excellent story that paints death as not only a natural event but also a beautiful one for those who take the time to celebrate the joys of life.”—Suite 101
- “Almost every child (regardless of age) will have a pet to whom he or she will one day have to say goodbye … Tiger Rose can help make that transition a little easier for your young one. As Tiger Rose shares her love will all the creatures who surrounded her in a life well-lived, she’ll also assure your own little one that their beloved pet was content and ready to go up, up, up … For me, I can well imagine Bob’s having a fabulous time chasing Tiger Rose one minute, snuggling with her the next … it’s a feline fest up, up, up there for sure.”—Book Dragon
- “(T)ouching and . . .bittersweet, but a great way to talk to your children about the death of a pet. It is a very good read for this difficult topic.”—Macaroni Kid
- “A quiet, thoughtful book about the death of a pet, this is a beautiful way to explain death to a child. Through poetry that paints pictures of Tiger Rose’s days and her life as well, the story is told in special moments and connections.. . . Yolen takes time to really have this cat connect with her life, so readers can envision what she was like as a younger, more spry cat. The time is also important as children will need it to come to terms with what is happening. This book does not spring the cat’s death on readers, rather the book is all about the death and what leads up to it. It is about saying goodbye to a good life. Yolen’s writing is beautiful, aching and gentle. She whispers in this poem, sharing sweet moments, softly. LaMarche’s art echoes that gentle softness with his delicate lines and glowing lighting. He celebrates Tiger Rose in her last day, allowing readers to celebrate too in her beauty and grace. His style is perfectly married to the subject here.”—Waking Brain Cells
- “Jane Yolen has written a beautiful, poetic text which is joined by Jim LaMarche’s soft pastel illustrations to create a comforting story about the natural cycle of life and death. Depending on your beliefs about death, for humans and/or animals, this is a gentle and reassuring story for children dealing with the death of a pet. .. This is one of the better children’s books about death, especially of a pet, and if you have a suitable place for it in your collection, I recommend purchasing it for parents looking for a general “it’s all natural” approach to death and grieving.”—Jean Little Library