Good-Bye, Sheepie

Good-Bye, Sheepie

by Robert Burleigh, Peter Catalanotto

A young boy comes to terms with the death of his beloved sheepdog  See more details below


A young boy comes to terms with the death of his beloved sheepdog

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A story about the death of a dog can't be anything but heartrending, and Burleigh (One Giant Leap) looks at grief without blinking. “Owen's best friend was his dog, Sheepie,” he starts, preparing readers for Sheepie's death right away by describing how much the dog has slowed down. But it's still a shock when Owen finds Sheepie lying unmoving under a tree. Despite his father's well-chosen words—“Poor Sheepie. He was hurting. We knew he couldn't live forever”—readers' hearts will sink along with Owen's as the boy watches his father dig a hole. Catalanotto's (Sleepsong) watercolor and gouache paintings watch the action from reassuring angles: from behind Owen as he discovers Sheepie's body, and over Owen's father's shoulder as he tells Owen, “...he'll stay with us, in a way. He'll become part of our happy memories.” Burleigh unspools the story at just the right speed, and Owen's father offers love, support, and a vision of death as not quite a final end. Those who have lost a beloved pet will know how Owen feels, and many may cry with him. Ages 3-7. (Apr.)
The author of Clang! Clang! Beep! Beep! Listen to the City (2009) deals here with a pet's death. Owen and his dog, Sheepie, are best friends, sharing walks, playtime, and a bed. Although he knows Sheepie is slowing down as he ages, Owen is still upset to find the sheepdog unresponsive under an oak tree. Luckily, Dad is nearby to help with a riverside burial and to encourage Owen to remember the good times the two have shared. Catalanotto's gentle watercolor-and-gouache paintings give off a yellow glow suggestive of warm sunshine on an autumn day, and are well suited to Burleigh's quiet text. Although death is never mentioned—nor is afterlife discussed—readers will comprehend Sheepie's demise and accept the sensitively handled depiction of his burial. A thoughtful choice for one-on-one sharing, this should spark discussions about death and funeral customs. Pair with Corrine Demas' Saying Goodbye to Lulu (2004), which addresses grieving as well as death
Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
This book is a good addition to the stories available to ease the loss of a pet. Owen is a young boy whose best friend is his dog Sheepie. The two play together endlessly. But it becomes apparent the dog is aging. Then one day Owen finds him under a tree, laying very still. Owen's dad is the character who sets the understated but comforting tone in this story about children coping with death. He acknowledges Owen's sense of grief and loss and helps Owen remember the good times with Sheepie. Finally he helps him take care of the logistics of burying the dog with a small ceremony. Catalanotto's warmly colored illustrations set in twilight add to the sense of closure that the book offers. Reviewer: Mary Hynes-Berry
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Burleigh tackles a tough subject in this story of a boy whose dog dies of old age. Death comes with no trauma, just a slow decline as Sheepie runs out of energy and stamina. Owen eventually finds him lying motionless under a tree and realizes that he has lost his friend. The tearful child and his father put the animal carefully into a wagon and, with great sorrow, bury him. As they do so, they recall many of the fun times they had with Sheepie. Burleigh fuses the story with the obvious sadness but with the hope that Sheepie will always be part of their lives. Catalanotto's watercolor and gouache illustrations provide the soft edges that keep this story poignant yet real. Losing a pet is, in some ways, a rehearsal for other losses, and this book may well help children cope when such things occur. Team it with Judith Viorst's The Tenth Good Thing About Barney (S & S, 1971) for helping children begin to understand the realities of death.—Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Kirkus Reviews
The death of a boy's beloved sheepdog is the topic of Burleigh's latest. Sheepie is Owen's best friend, but he is getting older and cannot run and play like he used to. Then one day Owen finds Sheepie under the oak tree. Owen's dad tells him, "Poor Sheepie. He was hurting. We knew he couldn't live forever." The two tenderly bury Sheepie, Owen placing a toy truck next to his friend. Owen's dad explains that even though Sheepie can never come back, he will always be part of their happy memories. Catalanotto's watercolor-and-gouache artwork sweetly portrays both the special relationship between the boy and his dog and the care that Owen and his dad take in burying Sheepie. While moving, however, this title lacks the depth of similar efforts. The relationship between Owen and Sheepie is given only two pages to develop-on the third, Sheepie dies. With its focus on the day of the dog's death, this fails to explore the stages of grief or the subject of what happens after death. Touching but ultimately lacking. (Picture book. 4-8)

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Product Details

Amazon Childrens Publishing
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.80(w) x 11.20(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
4 - 5 Years

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