In this British import, a dog writes letters from heaven to a child back on Earth, easing the grieving process.
Alfie McPoonst, a dog of indeterminate breed, has recently moved on to being a “Sky Dog” in Dog Heaven, residing on the “nicest cloud” in the sky. He writes to Izzy, his owner, a diminutive, round-headed moppet. Izzy is bereft, carrying Alfie’s blanket and bone toy everywhere. In subsequent letters, Alfie describes how much fun he has in Dog Heaven, playing with other dogs, chasing “postmen,” and scaring wolves. He is allowed to engage in formerly forbidden activities such as eating cow pies and rolling in flower beds. He writes, “I watch you through a star peephole every day” and that he left a ball of dog fluff behind the sofa. That revelation inspires a touching letter from Izzy to Alfie, telling him, “I keep [my fluff] in a special heart locket, so I’ll never forget you, even when I’m 100.” Impressionistic illustrations in a limited, mostly rusty-brown palette show Alfie enjoying his new environment and Izzy’s parents cuddling and comforting their child. Illustrations on the endpapers show the family, who present white, visiting Alfie’s grave in the garden behind their house. While Izzy is obviously just a tiny tot, both the understated story and imaginative illustrations allow readers to accept the child’s ability to understand Alfie’s letters and to write back.
A memorable effort that will comfort anyone who has lost a beloved dog. (Picture book. 3-8)