A little girl grieves her beloved dog.
Sammy was a hound dog—possibly the best in the world. He loved his girl, and she loved him. Painter Wyeth’s realistic, evocative watercolors show Sammy and the girl sharing good times together, playing dress-up, sleeping curled up and blowing and chasing bubbles. When Sammy is diagnosed with an untreatable illness, the girl has to accept that they don’t have much time left. Her parents are gentle and kind and offer explanations to help the girl with her impending loss, but when Sammy dies, she is bereft. Sensitive, graceful text depicts her pain and traces her journey through dreams and thoughts as she finds ways of coping that help her to remember Sammy and celebrate his life. Sammy is still around the family in memory, and the girl catches a glimpse of a cloud that looks like him as the family blows bubbles on the beach and shares stories about their friend. Without anthropomorphizing, Wyeth gives coonhound Sammy all the personality a dog could want; the little girl is a latter-day Sal, complete with overalls.
A warm, emotional tale, replete with comfort and acceptance, this secular selection is a strong choice for a child dealing with death for the first time. (Picture book. 4-7)