A touching, understated story in which a boy looks back at growing up with his faithful dog, Bud.
The huge, tan dog of indeterminate breed has floppy ears, a large nose and drooping, old eyes, as shown in the poignant illustration on the cover. The boy who narrates the rhyming story wonders how much Bud remembers of all their years together, with flashback views of the pair playing ball, skiing, chasing the family truck and getting covered with mud at a nearby pond. Now the faithful dog is too old to play fetch with his owner, who is also growing older and perhaps feeling his childhood coming to an end. The final pages unfold in a powerful conclusion as the boy realizes his dog is having trouble getting up. His one-word commands on successive pages (“Stop. / Sit. / Stay”) are tremendously affecting, helping readers realize the dog will not be able to stay with his beloved boy too much longer. The sun is setting in glowing shades of pink and orange in the last spread as the boy hugs his dog and promises to be his friend always, no matter what. Soft-focus, impressionistic illustrations with oddly adult children and the saggy, sad-eyed dog create a dreamlike world with a misty quality suggestive of hazy memories.
A bittersweet exploration of the enduring bond between a growing boy and his aging companion. (Picture book. 4-8)