“Perfect Picture Book” – Friday

Harry & Hopper

BOOK  HARRY AND HOPPERWritten by: Margaret Wild

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

BOOK HARRY AND HOPPERAOpening Lines:   When the puppy came to live with Harry and Dad, he was as jumpy as a grasshopper. So that’s what Harry called him. Hopper.

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.

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About Diane Tulloch

Known also as the Patientdreamer I am a writer who loves to dream, and is passionate about writing stories for the young so that they may join me in the wonders of adventure in countries and cultures afar, and in special moments to remember.
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22 Responses to “Perfect Picture Book” – Friday

  1. This sounds like such an excellent book for dealing with grief — as you point out, for any age person. These words of yours are SO good: “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.”

  2. Such a powerful picture book! I think Freya’s sensitve style must help with the telling too. Thanks for letting us know about this one.

    • Your welcome Joanne. The illustrations are soft in charcoal showing a playful puppy with the little boy, but she cleverly produces mood and depth where necessary.

  3. This is such a sweet book, very well done. Great pick, Diane.

  4. Thanks for sharing. This is such a beautiful grief book and I’m always looking. Grief is one of top searches on my blog. So, I keep a list. Many times the loss of a pet (wild rabbit) is the first grief a child feels. I know it was that way for me. So, to have a wonderful story like this on your bookshelf is wise. Excellent choice!

  5. This is a perfect book for children since it is inevitable they will encounter death at some point, be it a pet or a family member. I will never forget how upset my son was when his first dog died when he was about 6. I was sorry to hear of the loss of your father Diane and I do hope you are managing. It is never easy. Sending hugs.

  6. Catherine Johnson says:

    Oh my goodness I couldn’t read such a sad story. Anyone who has lost a dog would get encouragement from this.

  7. From the cover I thought it would be a happy dog story. But even though it’s not, I think it would be a good one to have handy. I always have readers tell me about dogs that they have lost. Those dogs are still big in their hearts.

    • I quite believe they would still love their dogs. We still feel a loss with our dog, Buddy. Even though it was years ago. This book is mostly happy even though most of it is in a dream. I think you will like it.

  8. Joanna says:

    I am always looking out for sensitive loss books, this sounds perfect. Losing a pet is so painful. I want to read this one.

  9. Joanne Sher says:

    This one DOES sound quite sensitive and real for kids. Will definitely have to give this one a look! Thanks.

  10. So sorry to hear about your father. I’m glad there was a book to help you through the grieving process. Just the description made me cry! I remember when my first dog, Scampy, ran away. I curled up in his bed and went to sleep to console myself (he was a chihuahua)!

  11. This sounds like a wonderful book to help children (and adults) deal with grief, Diane. I couldn’t even get through your review dry-eyed, so I’m a guaranteed basket-case if I actually read it! So sorry about your father – I don’t think the world can ever be quite the same after a parent goes. But you are right – we must hold on to all the good in what we had, not what we wish we could have continued. (((hugs)))

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