The Best Cat in the World

The Best Cat in the World

5.0 2
by Leslea Newman, Ronald Himler

View All Available Formats & Editions

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
Newman (Cats! Cats! Cats!) captures the conflicting emotions of losing a cherished pet and then learning to love a new one in this warmly reassuring tale. Young Victor, the narrator, mourns the death of Charlie, his old orange cat who had curled up next to him on a special pillow each night. "I cried and cried for two whole days. Mom didn't even make me go to school. We buried Charlie in the backyard and planted a rosebush for him with green leaves and orange flowers." Weeks later, at the gentle urging of his mother and the vet, Victor somewhat guardedly adopts a tortoiseshell kitten named Shelley. Shelley slowly earns her owner's acceptance and love through frisky antics and endearing habits that differentiate her from Charlie. While the text can be lengthy, particularly for the younger set, the story moves swiftly and tenderly. Himler's (I Wonder as I Wander) soft pencil and watercolor art conveys a myriad of feelings. Soothing and hopeful tones of muted oranges, yellows and greens provide backdrops for the realistic spreads as they showcase the new pet's playfulness (drinking from a faucet, biting shoelaces). Touching in its depiction of the carefully crafted bonds between a boy and his furry companions, this story comes full circle with Victor and Shelley peering out at Charlie's rosebush. A fitting read for any youngster facing the loss of a pet. Ages 3-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
In third grade my first cat, Betsy, died. I cried and cried just like Victor, the main character, does when his cat dies. Just like Victor, I buried my cat in the backyard and planted a special flower to mark her grave. Just like Victor, I remember feeling a vacancy in my heart for my cat. The lose of a pet causes intense feelings, especially for kids. The author captures this experience in a gentle, truthful, and universal way. It is a story everyone with a pet can relate too. But this isn't just a story about mourning. It is also a story about moving on. Victor adopts a new kitten, Shelly. Shelly isn't like his other cat, Charlie, but Victor soon comes to love Shelly for her differences. This is an excellent book for any child, or adult for that matter, to read when they are dealing with death. It is funny, kind, and honest. Most importantly it is hopeful. 2004, Eerdmans, Ages 5 to 11.
—Louise Parsons
Library Journal - Library Journal
Gr 1-4-In this worthy companion to Judith Viorst's The Tenth Good Thing about Barney (Atheneum, 1971), a young child grieves for his pet. For days after Charlie's death, Victor can't eat or talk about him without crying. He is comforted by gestures from his class, his mom cooking his favorite meal, and a memorial rosebush that he plants over his cat's grave. When a sympathetic vet introduces him to a tortoiseshell kitten that needs a home, he finally cheers up. However, Shelley is not Charlie and chooses to sleep on the windowsill rather than with Victor and to ignore the tidbits he drops on the floor at dinner. As the two become better acquainted, the youngster begins to notice special things Shelley does that his old pet did not. The story comes full circle when Victor gazes out of the window and asks the kitten the same question he used to ask Charlie, "Who's the best cat in the world?" Himler's warm pencil-and-watercolor illustrations generously fill the pages. They portray the casually clad characters with tenderness and contrast the shape of the old and sick animal with that of the young and playful one. For a feline who visits the vet and gets well, see Lynne Rae Perkins's charming The Broken Cat (Greenwillow, 2002), but for comfort and catharsis, Newman's fine story is the cat's pajamas.-Susan Hepler, Burgundy Farm Country Day School, Alexandria, VA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Every night Victor always asked Charlie, "Who's the best cat in the world?" Charlie would purr contentedly in reply. When Charlie dies, Victor is heartbroken. Everyone tries to ease his grief. Mom makes his favorite supper, but he has little appetite. His teacher and classmates draw pictures of Charlie. Then the vet asks Victor to take in a new kitten. At first Victor constantly compares Shelly to Charlie and finds her wanting. But gradually he begins to appreciate her as his new "best cat in the world." The adults display kindly acceptance and great wisdom in helping Victor deal with the death of his beloved pet. Newman skillfully manages to convey sympathy without being cloying, and she never belittles Victor's feelings. Himler's watercolor illustrations are appropriately warm and fuzzy, and are well-matched to the text. A sweet story about grief and acceptance. (Picture book. 4-6)

Product Details

Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.80(w) x 9.70(h) x 0.30(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

The Best Cat in the World 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I came across this book while attending a national conference for my professional organization. I generally do not purchase books at these meetings but this book was too wonderful to pass by. At the time, I had rescued to beautiful cats and, having a houseful already, was in the process of finding adoptive homes for them. I knew that my son would be very upset since he adores our cats. Although only 2 1/2, he loves this book. Unfortunately, we just had to have one of our cats euthanized due to a sudden and serious illness. We read this book for two nights and he was able to tell me the story in his own words. When our cat died, he was able to be present for it. We will continue reading this book. It is a must have for every vet's office as well as for those who love their pets.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a book reviewer for Funseeker's Radio Network I read a lot of books for children. This one helps with the process of saying goodbye to a treasured pet and getting used to another, sometimes more different, pet. In this case Charlie has had a long and happy life as 'the best cat in the world' for young Victor. The boy is devastated when Charlie dies and doesn't think he will ever want another cat, but Charlie's vet, Dr. Levin calls him and offers him a new kitten. He accepts reluctantly and soon finds that Shelley is a different cat altogether. Her habits and ways are not like Charlie's, but he finally realizes that he again has the 'best cat in the world.' The story is well-written and the illustrations by Ronald Himler are excellent. I would recommend this book highly to anyone who has lost a pet or as a gift for someone who is dealing with the death for a pet.