Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Joan Hewett, il. Donald Carrick
1987, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books

She's always ready to play when I am. She doesn't run fast, and now and then she stops to rest. But she wags her tail to keep the game going, and then she chases me some more.

The narrator, Cindy, tells us about her 16-year-old dog Rosalie, who is deaf and can't go on hikes anymore, but who is loved and cared for just the same. And although Rosalie's no longer a sleek young dog, Cindy knows she can still do the most important things.

Rosalie's tail goes round and round, and she stays and plays.

This picture book is about a beloved family dog, with matter-of-fact comments on how the dog is old and how that's different from a young dog. It does not end in the dog's death, and does not talk about dying at all, which is a relief from most books having to do with older dogs. There is also a very nice bit where the dog is taken to the vet to treated for what seems to be arthritis. The narrator says that the vet can't cure her, but can make her feel better, and that Rosalie gets vitamins. All of this is a very good message about caring for older animals to prolong their happy lives.

The gentle watercolors ably illustrate the weakening but still enthusiastic body of what looks like a Golden Retriever, and her human friends and family.

Author Joan Hewett seems to have written many nonfiction picture books in collaboration with her husband, photographer Richard Hewett. Illustrator Donald Carrick illustrated many children's books, and co-wrote several of his own with his wife, Carol, including The Barn and a series about Patrick's Dinosaurs.

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