This picture book, a Canadian import originally published in Norway, tells the story of Paws, a dog, and Edward, a child, who have shared a good life together.
Paws is old and prefers to spend his days sleeping and dreaming, mostly about rabbits, while Edward, his beloved human, cuddles close and reads books. When Edward invites Paws for a walk, Paws goes because, he thinks, “Edward could use some fresh air.” The two are inseparable until the inevitable occurs and Paws falls into a sleep “without dreams.” Edward is so, so sad, but when he finally falls asleep (in the park, on the bench Paws used to lie on) he dreams—of Paws, tail wagging, happy—and readers will be uplifted, understanding that Edward’s love for Paws cannot be erased by death. Johnsen’s warmly hued illustrations give Paws such a large presence that he often spills out over the boundaries of the page—a visual manifestation of the story’s theme of love unconstrained by the boundary of death. Each illustration is a full-bleed double-page spread, a choice that emphasizes expansiveness. Edward’s skin is shown as a different shade on each page, a device that allows Edward to approach universality while visually highlighting, once again, the theme of limitlessness.
A truly brilliant contribution to the genre and a must for any child who has lost a beloved pet. (Picture book. 4-8)