In this debut picture book, a couple’s adoption of a rescue dog brings comfort after the death of a family member.
Reflecting Wynkoop’s own healing process after her daughter’s death as well as her professional background as a bereavement counselor, art therapist, and hospital care coordinator, this worthwhile tale is sensitively constructed for children (and adults) who may be dealing with loss. The work’s story component, with the author as the third-person central character, Marian, is simply told in short sentences that are hand-lettered in black pencil on white pages with colorful watercolor accents and unpolished but charming drawings of dogs. Wynkoop then speaks directly to readers on each page, asking questions related to a theme suggested by the tale. When Marian daydreams, for instance, the author asks readers what they daydream about. Boxed text at the bottom of each page further expands the theme. Children may need reassurance, however, when they learn that it was Marian’s adult daughter (co-author DeVasto) who died. When little dog Clay comes into Marian’s life, the story’s abrupt shift in focus to pet rescue, fostering, and adoption could be another book entirely, if not for the gentle, reflective questions for kids that continue on each page.
Despite a sudden tonal shift at the halfway mark, this heartfelt tale offers thoughtful, conversation-promoting guidance for children coping with loss.