Book Reviews: New Ones on Death of a Pet

The Day Tiger Rose Said Goodbye
Author: Jane Yolen
Illustrated by Jim LaMarche
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Interest Level: Ages 4 and Up

From the Book Jacket: Her kitten days long gone, Tiger Rose has lived a cat's life. She's growing too tired to stay, so it's time to say goodbye to the creatures and the joys in her little corner of the world - goodbye to the scolding blue jay, to the children and dog she shares her home with, and to her favorite shady patch under the bushes. Tiger Rose is ready to become one with it all. 

Never before has there been such a peaceful, inspiring, and reassuring book for children about death - uniquely written from the point of view of the one who is dying, and as much a celebration of life as of its gentle end. 

Why It's On My Bookshelf: This is so beautifully written. I cried (and cried), as I finished the last couple pages. This is a book you will want to read with your child - and you will cry too. When I was younger and saw my mom cry about sad experiences, it modeled to me the importance of letting the grief out. So don't be afraid to grieve in front of your children. This story will most certainly trigger the sadness you both will be feeling after the loss of a pet. But it will also help trigger the healing.

Sammy in the Sky
Author: Barbara Walsh
Paintings by Jamie Wyeth
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Interest Level: Ages 4 and Up

From the Book Jacket: Sammy, the best hound dog in the whole wide world, loves his girl and she loves him. When illness cuts Sammy's life short, the girl's family keeps his spirit alive by celebrating his love of chasing wind-blown bubbles, keeping loyal guard a night, and offering his velvety fur for endless pats and tummy scratches.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: I am not a fan of books about pet death that end with the whole family replacing their beloved pet with a new one. I think it does a disservice to the grief process. I am a fan of books showing the love and memories we will always have when a pet passes. This is why I loved Sammy in the Sky so much. It doesn't take the easy way out. It helps kids to focus on all the wonderful special moments pets bring to our lives. It teaches kids to remember them in their hearts. "All I knew was that I loved Sammy and Sammy loved me." It's about love.

Good-Bye, Jeepers: What to Expect When Your Pet Dies
Author: Nancy Loewen
Illustrated by Christopher Lyles
Publisher: Capstone Publishing
Interest Level: Ages 4 and Up

From the Book Jacket: When a pet dies, it can feel like you lost your best friend. What do you do? Whether you had a guinea pig, dog, cat, or fish, this story can help you through the tough times.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: Absolutely loved this one. It is so developmentally appropriate. As the story unfolds, each page has a little blurb teaching children about the grieving process. I've read 'technical' books like this before but this one is SOLID. This is also about the loss of a guinea pig. But I think whether you lose a dog or a cat this is a good one to do some teaching about grieving. I once asked a group of 3rd graders after a loss, "Have you ever heard of the word grief?" No one raised their hand. It's amazing how empowered and connected they felt as I guided them through the process. It would have been a missed opportunity for them to grow if I would have just swept the teaching piece under the rug. They have the desire to learn and be educated about grief. It's helpful for them to know what they are feeling is perfectly fine - even though it may be difficult. 

A Link To These Books:


  1. Thank you so much for finding and sharing these book titles with us!! This topic comes up so often in elementary school! I will definitely adding at least one of these books to my collection!!

  2. I'm so glad I found this blog! I am a school psychologist, and my mother is an elementary librarian so I love finding good bibliotherapy! Check out my blog at - I have one post about grief books for kids and I definitely want to check out these books you've suggested!

  3. These books are great for kids who have recently lost their pets aside from attending the usual pet loss grief counseling support groups.