Tommy Goes to Heaven


Children - Animals
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 07/25/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jennie More for Readers' Favorite

Tommy Goes to Heaven by Lina Ali is a beautiful and colorful storybook about a young girl named Lily who found a stray cat, adopted her, and called her Tommy. The cat was an excellent addition to the family and well-loved by Lily, her parents, and Lily's two other cats, Feebie and Gigi. Tommy played with the other cats and taught them to be kind and friendly with each other when they had disagreements, so both Feebie and Gigi loved Tommy. Unfortunately, Tommy became ill and only lived for eight years. Because Tommy played such a big role in their lives, her death also left a void. Lily struggled to cope with Tommy's death after they buried her in their yard, but with Tommy's help, she overcame this difficulty.

Tommy Goes to Heaven by Lina Ali is a delightful and heartwarming storybook about the life and death of a beloved pet cat named Tommy. Despite the book being about the loss of a pet, which can be one of the saddest experiences in life, I felt positive after reading this book, and not melancholy as I expected. Ali did a splendid job of balancing the two aspects of the story, the joy of adopting Tommy and the sadness of losing her, and in so doing, managed to keep the tone light-hearted and cheerful. The illustrations are beautiful, and the tale is well-crafted. I think this would be the perfect storybook to read to children to help them overcome the loss of a pet.

Philip Van Heusen

We all face grief. Too many adults forget that children grieve too. In Tommy Goes to Heaven, Lina Ali shares the pain many children face when their pet dies. For the child, the grief is akin to an adult grieving over the death of a parent or child. In this book, Lily finds a stray cat and names it Tommy, who grows up with the love and companionship of Lily. Unfortunately, cats don’t live as long as humans do, so eventually, Tommy dies. Lily is devastated. She and her parents give Tommy a proper funeral, but the grief lingers. One night, Lily has a dream that brings her great comfort. In the dream, Lily sees Tommy is happy and peaceful in heaven. Once Lily knows Tommy is okay, she makes peace with death and returns to normality.

Like all emotions, grief can be significantly magnified in children. Grief is individual and universal. Lily loves her adopted cat, but, alas, the cat dies. How does a child deal with such a strong emotion as grief? Read Tommy Goes to Heaven by Lina Ali with your child and discuss grief. Assuring your children that their dead pet is not suffering brings needed comfort and healing. Even if your children have not experienced grief, I strongly recommend you share this book with them. It is a great way to prepare them for the inevitable. Speak words of reassurance to your children. Tell them they can talk to you about their grief and not be judged. Let your child grieve fully. Grief, like all emotions, is natural. Help your child understand how to work through it.