Big Cat Pepper, wonderful reviews, and my beloved cat Coyote

The package hit the front porch with a thud. Penny barked. And here it was: Big Cat Pepper, the real book. Warm apricot-yellow endpapers, beautiful, heart-warming illustrations by Lauren Castillo, so gorgeous on their final paper, soft and creamy and inviting, desolation of olive green nights lightening to spring-green grass under a lemon-yellow sunrise.

Two great reviews have already come in. One from Kirkus: "
...Castillo’s mixed-media illustrations of a rural, single-parent family are smudgily warm and comforting. The entirely secular explanation of death and the fact that there is no substitution pet added to the family in the end make this a very worthwhile addition to bibliotheraputic literature for the young."

I love "...smudgily warm..." Yum!

And from Booklist: "Because of their loyalty and innocence, the death of a pet is especially poignant, and Partridge gets it just right with this tale of a boy and his beloved cat, Pepper...."

The next day,
our beloved cat Coyote died. As a hungry barn kitten, she'd somehow pulled her trapped leg out of the metal teeth of a coyote trap set by a sheep farmer. She arrived at my sister's house in the country, one back leg partly degloved of skin and fur. We nurtured her back to a healthy, sweet cat and had her for 17 years.

Tom dug her a grave in the backyard by the fence, right near her favorite mousing grounds (still a barn cat at heart, she was a great mouser). We covered her with dirt and sprinkled on rose petals, carefully watched by Penny.

Penny put her head deep in the grave, sniffed and sniffed, then settled back and pushed crumbling dirt into the grave with her nose, over and over again. I've never seen her bury anything -- no bone, no treasure, nothing.

Sleep well, Coyote.