Rosie’s world turns gray when her dog passes away, but friendship and color bloom again when she helps reunite another child with a lost cat.
Crayon the dog fills Rosie’s world with delight. Everything seems brighter, bolder, deeper with her best pal. Together the little dog and brown-complexioned girl (both have tightly curled hair, the dog’s white and the girl’s black) traverse the seasons and their accompanying hues—jumping in leaves, sledding, and camping under a starry sky—until Crayon dies. Spreads become overcast, mirroring Rosie’s emotions, as she closes up her heart. A lost-cat search wakens the puff-pigtailed girl, and upon finding the feline, the child lets herself remember her dog. As colors pour forth, Rosie realizes her “heart didn’t break (like she thought it would). Rather… / …it felt wider—taller—deeper than it had ever felt before.” Digital artwork done in a primary palette explores pattern and texture. And the artist’s simple linework is skillful, offering an appealing character across a range of perspectives, actions, and framings; however, the illustrations often feel like a smartly-filled coloring book. The decision not to use crayon or ink textures matching the pets’ names (Crayon and Inky) seems a missed opportunity. Marcero’s text is the real star, as she delves into a difficult topic with lush descriptions and empathy. Thoughtful endpapers round out the story, as readers are comforted by Rosie’s healing process.
A good addition to the loss-of-a-pet bookshelf. (Picture book. 4-8)