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The Very Best of Friends by Margaret Wild

The Very Best of Friends

by Margaret Wild, Julie Vivas (Illustrator)

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This is a book about a cat named William. The cat lives on a farm with his best friend James. He goes everywhere with James, but James wife Jessie does not like William. After James dies from a heart attack, William tries to make Jessie love him.
Personal Reaction:
My daughter Aubri loves all animals, but loves more then anything her cat Michael. Michael is her cat and Aubri is his person. Anytime Aubri is gone Michael doesn't know what to do with himself. This book reminded me of their love for each other.
Classroom Extensions:
1. We would talk about why it is important to take care of our pets and love them. Them we would draw our animals and get into to groups to take turns talking about our animals.
2. We would play a game of charades acting out our favorite animal on a farm. ( )
  Charessa | Jul 15, 2017 |
I found myself unsatisfied with this book. The story is about a husband and wife who have a cat named William. The husband loves William while the wife does not. The beginning of the story presents the husband's wonderful friendship with the cat and how they do all activities together. The turning point in the story happens when the husband dies and the wife has to take care of the cat. She is unkind to the cat and does not take care of him, causing the cat to become mean. At the end of the story, the wife realizes that she has been mean to the cat and makes amends and they eventually become friends. I found myself unsatisfied with this story for a few reasons. I did not enjoy how casually the story dealt with death. One page of the book simply states, "Then one Sunday morning James died suddenly." Not that I believe that children should be sheltered from bad things, I believe that the death of the husband character was out of place and a bit too casual for children. Secondly, although I believe that the story had a good message (that we should be accepting of new people/things and we may grow to love them), that the majority of the story presents the wife character as unkind. This presentation makes her a hard character to connect to and to root for. Although I believe that the story ends well, I think that the characters and the plot could have been developed a bit differently. ( )
  jfoti | May 7, 2014 |
Summary: A farm cat helps his best friend take care of the farm. A death occurs in the story which changes the relationship between the cat and the best friends wife. At the end of the story the wife and cat become best friends.
Personal reaction: This book is a good way to show children realistic happenings and a good way to show interactions of company and animals.
Classroom Extension Ideas: This could be used in the classroom to show children about being good and kind to others.
  kimlien91 | Mar 19, 2012 |
James and Jessie live on a farm. James takes care of the farm with his best friend, William the cat, always by his side. Jessie takes care of the house and spends much of her time writing letters to her pen pals. Jessie doesn’t care much for William. She says that cats are skittish and leave hair on the furniture. But she knows how much James loves his cat and so she is nice to it. When James dies suddenly Jessie stops caring about everything. She cries a lot and stays in the house all of the time. Soon she realizes that William had grown mean and lean having to care for himself. She feels bad and brings him back into the house and apologizes to him for leaving him outside. To her surprise, they become friends.

This is a very touching book. Animals cannot take the place of a human relationship but they can keep you company in times of loneliness.

This book should be used for older students. It can be used in a lesson on depression. It can also be used on a lesson on kindness to animals.
  tterrill | Jun 30, 2010 |
Story about a couple who did everything together. They lived on a farm and tended to animals. ( )
  kwalk3 | Apr 23, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Margaret Wildprimary authorall editionscalculated
Vivas, JulieIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0152000771, Paperback)

When her husband, James, dies suddenly, Jessie neglects William, James’s beloved cat. Then she realizes how lean and mean William has become without affection and that she needs his friendship, too. “This winning story stands among the growing number of picture books using country life as a metaphor and as a setting for playing out fundamental human experiences and dilemmas.”-The Horn Book

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:06 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Since Jessie has never cared for her farmer husband's cat William, her difficult adjustment period after her husband's death makes William doubt if he is still welcome on the farm.

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