Harry & Hopper
Illustrated by: Freya Blackwood
Published by: Omnibus Books an imprint of Scholastic Australia Pty Ltd 2009 and again by Feiwel & Friends (January 18, 2011)
Ages: 2 – 5 years
Theme: Loss, connection, love
Synopsis: From the back of the book – Harry and his dog Hopper have done everything together, ever since Hopper was a jumpy little Puppy. But one day the unthinkable happens. When Harry comes home from school, Hopper isn’t there to greet him. Hopper will never be there again, but Harry is not ready to let him go. This story tenderly demonstrates the shock of grief and the sustaining power of love.
Why I like this: This moving, heart-wrenching story shows the power of love between a boy and his beloved dog. The two were inseparable until an accident killed Hopper. Not wanting to say goodbye before he is buried, Harry cannot accept Hopper is gone, and the puppy appears each night to keep him company. It is obvious that Harry must eventually come to accept what’s happened. Hopper eventually leaves when Harry is ready to let him go. This story will not leave you dry-eyed, take my word for it. Having lost my father nearly three months ago it was only the other day I managed to watch a recording of the funeral. This book which I had lying around seemed appropriate somehow (no matter what age the reader is.) It’s about accepting loss, but also about accepting loss in your own time, in your own way, and about learning to grieve. Realising the time you had together is what you must hold on to, not what you won’t have. We always want to hold on to someone a little longer when they have passed, and that’s okay, too.
Resources/Findings: Here’s an interview with the author…. http://us.macmillan.com/author/margaretwild
Here is some pictures from the book and a little about the illustrator Freya Blackwood.. http://www.theguardian.com/books/gallery/2010/jun/24/kate-greenaway-medal-freya-blackwood
Here is some great tips when dealing with children and grief… http://www.nasponline.org/resources/crisis_safety/griefwar.pdf
Here is some activities from Margaret and Freya in relation to the book… http://www.scool.scholastic.com.au/schoolzone/toolkit/assets/pdfs/Harry_and_Hopper.pdf
A wonderful blog by fellow writer and dear friend Patrica Tilton, also has wonderful books about loss and healing… http://childrensbooksheal.com/
I’m so pleased to be able to bring you some more special books that have come my way and be able to share them with you and join other great writers over at Susanna’s Blog, where there are literally hundreds of book reviews to view. So pop over and visit the lovely author, Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books. Her blog is full of resources links and activities associated with books reviewed by many authors.