In the Cohen/Hoban first-grade classroom, grieving runs its natural, erratic course--to a truthful and spontaneous conclusion. Jim's dog Muffins has been killed by a garbage truck, Danny announces, and Jim won't be in school. At the teacher's suggestion, the children dictate a letter of regrets. And the next day Jim is back--in body if not in spirit. He doesn't talk to the other children. He doesn't listen to the whale reports, or take part in the cooking lesson. (When the others are eating their fresh-made soup, and Danny is clowning, he isn't even in the picture.) In characteristic ways, the other kids try to console him--Anna Maria, by brightly telling him, ""It doesn't do any good to be sad."" He pushes Anna Maria off the bench, and she bawls. ""Maybe Jim needs time to feel sad,"" says the teacher. Then, on the way home, Paul overtakes Jim; he persists in buying two pieces of pizza; and gobbling his, he gets Jim eating and laughing too, thinking of Muffins (who used to get the crust) and shedding suppressed tears. ""She was the nicest dog,"" they agree, arm in arm. An insightful demonstration lesson that, as usual, doesn't seem deliberated.