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GOOD-BYE, SHEEPIE by Robert Burleigh


by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Peter Catalanotto

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: April 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7614-5598-1
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

The death of a boy’s beloved sheepdog is the topic of Burleigh’s latest. Sheepie is Owen’s best friend, but he is getting older and cannot run and play like he used to. Then one day Owen finds Sheepie under the oak tree. Owen’s dad tells him, “Poor Sheepie. He was hurting. We knew he couldn’t live forever.” The two tenderly bury Sheepie, Owen placing a toy truck next to his friend. Owen’s dad explains that even though Sheepie can never come back, he will always be part of their happy memories. Catalanotto’s watercolor-and-gouache artwork sweetly portrays both the special relationship between the boy and his dog and the care that Owen and his dad take in burying Sheepie. While moving, however, this title lacks the depth of similar efforts. The relationship between Owen and Sheepie is given only two pages to develop—on the third, Sheepie dies. With its focus on the day of the dog’s death, this fails to explore the stages of grief or the subject of what happens after death. Touching but ultimately lacking. (Picture book. 4-8)