Fans of Tillman’s sentimental rhyming couplets, pretty pictures and relentlessly positive worldview will welcome this vision of a happy heaven populated by pampered pets, ethereal angels and friendly animals of all sorts.
This heaven is a decidedly pastoral place, from the fog-shrouded lake on one of the opening double-page spreads to a field of sunflowers and a grassy meadow. A sandy beach, deep blue lake and wildly colored savannah are among the other settings, all of which serve to add variety and visual interest. Angels, mostly children and overwhelmingly white, are sprinkled about, playing with dogs, petting kittens and patting horses as well as running, dancing and paddling a bright blue canoe. The digitally created artwork verges on photorealism in some instances, while other vignettes have a gauzy look. The text is straightforward, with a strong rhythm from the opening couplet to the final reassurance: “But when you meet your friends again, / they’ll see you as they saw you then. / And you’ll find they always knew / how much they were loved… / and how much they loved you.” Accompanied by the depiction of a joyous reunion between a boy and his dog, the final two pages may well be the most affecting part of the whole.
For Tillman, predictability and preciosity have been profitable, and this is likely to be another best-seller to add to her list. (Picture book. 4-7)