The LONGEST LETSGOBOY – Perfect Picture Book Friday

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Author: Derick Wilder

 Illustrator: Cátia Chien

Publisher: Chronicle Books, 202

Ages: 3-6

Format/Genre: fiction

Themes: pets, loss, death, grief, celebration, point of view, dogs


Mewmew wakes me, rumbledrumming my tummy.

I strrrrrrrretch my oldbones.


Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey meets Dog Heaven in this profoundly beautiful book about the special relationship between kids and dogs, the importance of language, and finding the meaning of life even in its final days.

Poignant, hopeful, and lovingly told, this dog’s journey—told by the dog himself in his own unique words—proves that love abides beyond a lifetime, out of sight but never far away.

As a dog and his little girl go on their final walk together, he experiences the sights, smells, and wonders of this world one last time before peacefully passing on. But for such a good boy (oh yes, he is!) and his foreverfriend, that doesn’t mean it’s the end. (publisher)

Why I like this book:

Oh, boy, where to start on this HEARTBREAKING/HEARTBUILDING optimistic take on the perennially difficult topic of losing one’s beloved pet/companion. What a beautifully balanced and innovative story, from the dog’s ever-optimistic viewpoint. The language is surprising at times yet beautiful and appropriate.

This is a book for the classroom, the library, the lap, the home bookshelf… Grief, fear, and death are always relevant and classic discussion topics even in families not yet dealing with death. The perfect answer to kids’ big questions about what happens when we die, and is also a wonderful vehicle for teaching empathy as we experience the story through eyes of the “other’, in this case, the dog.

This is such a beautiful book on so many levels. The front endpapers start the story with the dog and baby playing and growing older together, the title page shows the dog with a grey muzzle asleep on the rug by the child in her bed. Soft artwork with fuzzy images, no straight harsh lines, show one last day for the dog and Little.  And the language is so orginal. I mean look at that title, “Letsgoboy”!!! Or “pufftails” (rabbits). And word choice can definitely be part of any classroom discussion.

Most picture books about grief/losing pets, have such a finality with the death. The continuation of the dog’s story past this point makes this book extra special and so comforting, and truly a celebration of all the thousands of beautiful moments together. As a dog-lover, this one brought me to joyful tears, and deep sighs, and special magical memories. Love never ends. This is so masterful and one of the best picture books I have read of late.


I don’t want to recommend anything more than just sitting quietly with ones’ thoughts after reading this. Make sure some kleenex are handy.

Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

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