Thursday, November 9, 2017

Review: Stay by Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise


Eli the dog has been with Astrid since her parents brought her home from the hospital as a baby. Now Astrid is getting older, and so is Eli. Before he slows down too much, Astrid wants to make fun memories with him. So she makes a bucket list for Eli, which includes experiences such as eating with him in a restaurant, and taking him down a slide at the playground.

But in the end, what is most important to Eli is the time he spends with Astrid

The subtitle makes it pretty clear (to adults anyway) what is going on, so my first question was whether it would be too maudlin to get through. Fortunately, the story is incredibly sweet but not saccharine, and the happy outweighs the sad - although the last page* puts a lump in my throat every time!
(*No, the dog has not died at the end)

This is THE book I will hand to any parent wanting to prepare their child for the death of a pet. It's also a great book just for talking about how a family dog or cat is slowing down and can't do all the things he used to. Heck, it can even relate to an older family member who just needs to sit and visit a bit more than they used to.

I loved Klise's illustrations as well. Eli ages gracefully, his face a little less full than it was when Astrid was a baby. The bright colors and cheerful scenes keep this a book of celebration rather than loss. Very much a book you will want to have on hand in your library, or in your home!

*NOTE: This title has been nominated for the Cybils Award, and I am a first round panelist. There are many nominations and six other judges. My opinions should not be construed as a sign of inclusion or exclusion on the final short list.

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