When a Pet Dies
written by Fred Rogers
photography by Jim Judkis

Deals with the death of a dog and the death of a cat as well

Mister Rogers' When a Pet Dies
Photographs by Jim Judkis

Children's book review by Steve Barancik

Ages 2-5

Coping with the death of a pet

Fred Rogers doesn't believe in keeping it all bottled up inside. His main counsel to children in this sensitive book aimed at young pet owners is

  • Stay close to the ones you love
  • Share your grief, in words, with the ones you love

It's a simple message, but appropriate for young readers experiencing the death of a beloved pet.

When a Pet Dies - summary and review

Rogers makes some excellent choices. He uses photographs instead of pictures to illustrate his points. He uses a number of families (of various racial make-ups): some with cats, some with dogs.

Cats too!

This is non-fiction, not fiction. Rogers speaks directly to kids about the experience of having, then losing, an ailing pet. He speaks of love and sickness and veterinarians, of burials and funerals.

(Don't worry, you don't need to schedule a burial. He assures kids that often the vet takes care of that.)

He speaks of sadness, loneliness and even anger. He assures your kids that not only are these feelings normal, but eventually they'll fade and you'll be left mostly with happy memories.

There's nothing in this book that you're not capable of telling your child, but there are things you might not think to remember without "Mister Rogers" reminding you!

The photos may look a bit dated, but essentially kids and pets still look the same all these years after the book's initial publication.

When a Pet Dies was one of eight books in Rogers' First Experiences series.

Other subjects:

  • moving
  • going to the doctor
  • going to the hospital
  • going to day care
  • going to the potty
  • making friends
  • the new baby

Some of the books, like this one, are still in print, and all can be found if you look hard enough.

Fred Rogers died in 2003, but with these books his reassuring spirit lives on!

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