Unlike many feel-good pet tales, this one comes with a painful life lesson: Despite medical treatment and the family’s deep love, Sandy eventually dies from complications of epilepsy. However, Scoopie is able to soak up many fun experiences with her puppy before she passes away, and Clare is attentive to the difficulties of explaining pet illness to younger readers. Readers will learn what a seizure is and why it’s important to be sensitive to animals (or people) who are experiencing them, and although Sandy’s outcome is heartbreaking, it’s handled with grace. Scoopie takes time to grieve the loss of her puppy, and when she feels ready, she asks for another dog–this time a miniature schnauzer named Omar.
The most important part of this story is its gentle treatment of grief. Scoopie circles back to her memories of Sandy while learning to love again, recognizing the similarities and differences between the two dogs as she introduces Omar to Sandy at her gravesite, a meeting that Clare aptly describes as “a family reunion.” Alderson’s muted illustrations provide a fittingly hushed atmosphere, and although it covers delicate territory, this emotional story will strike a chord for any reader who has endured the loss of a beloved pet.
Takeaway:A young girl experiences the loss of her first pet in this emotional story.
Great for fans of: Patrice Karst’s The Invisible Leash, Adrian Raeside’s The Rainbow Bridge.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A