In a home in the city lives Big Cat. He is by himself for a while, doing things like eating, staring at the birds out the window, and napping in the sun. One day, Little Cat arrives. Big Cat knows what he must do, and he takes it upon himself to show Little Cat the way: when to eat and drink, when to sleep and play, and how to be. The days go by, and Little Cat grows and grows – until he is even bigger than Big Cat. The two cats spend all their days together as the years pass. Then comes the day that Big Cat is very old, and becomes tired and ill. He leaves and doesn’t come back, and this is hard for Little Cat and his family. He misses his friend. But soon, there is a new Little Cat, and so the older Little Cat knows what to do – it’s time for him to become Big Cat, and pass along all the wisdom his old friend had once shared with him.
This was a sweet, sad, but quite lovely story. First, the minimal black-and-white illustrations are gorgeous, and capture the personality, action and emotion perfectly, taking a small story of two cats and giving it a great deal of weight. I loved the simple, concise language – it seemed perfect for the no-nonsense air that cats seem to carry, giving dry humor to the funny parts and candid honesty to the sad moments. And the story is sad, but leaves the reader with a sense of hope and warmth, which – factoring in the text, art, and overall tone as well – make it a great book to introduce the delicate subject of death to young ones. The length is fine, and JJ enjoyed the art and quiet story, and this one was a gentle, sad, yet beautiful story. Baby Bookworm approved.