Harry & Hopper

( 1 )

Overview

When Harry’s beloved dog Hopper dies, he has a hard time letting go, as Harry sees Hopper still in his life. Are Hopper’s visits to Harry the boy’s imagination, or is the dog truly leaving Harry gradually, once he makes sure his boy will be all right? Eyes will not stay dry as readers experience this beautifully written, gently illustrated story about losing a dear pet.

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Overview

When Harry’s beloved dog Hopper dies, he has a hard time letting go, as Harry sees Hopper still in his life. Are Hopper’s visits to Harry the boy’s imagination, or is the dog truly leaving Harry gradually, once he makes sure his boy will be all right? Eyes will not stay dry as readers experience this beautifully written, gently illustrated story about losing a dear pet.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Redheaded Harry and his spotted dog, Hopper, are constant companions, accomplices ("As Hopper grew older... Harry helped him run away from his weekly bath"), and bedmates. The dog's sudden death (an accident that happens while Harry is at school), leaves the boy devastated; refusing to join his father at Hopper's backyard funeral, Harry "stared at the screen but the words and pictures didn't make sense, and he couldn't follow what was going on." But gradually, Harry finds that Hopper lives on his heart, and in the final, wordless scene, rendered from a vantage point far above the backyard, readers see Harry visiting his beloved pet's grave. Wild's (Puffling) understated, empathic prose offers both a voice for a child unable to articulate his grief and the reassurance that those we love never really disappear. Blackwood's (Ivy Loves to Give) predominantly charcoal drawings are equally eloquent, particularly in her use of texture to capture the emotional essence of good and sad times. These days, her gift for portraying children navigating the turbulence of life feels especially necessary. Up to age 5. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
“A bittersweet picture book about loss…The subject makes this an atypical bedtime read, but there will be comfort in it for any child who has lost someone he loves.” —Wall Street Journal

 

“When so many picture books about grief aim squarely at bibliotherapy, Harry & Hopper reaches past the platitudes, sharing something essential about sadness and healing."—Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“Wild's (Puffling) understated, empathic prose offers both a voice for a child unable to articulate his grief and the reassurance that those we love never really disappear. Blackwood's (Ivy Loves to Give) predominantly charcoal drawings are equally eloquent, particularly in her use of texture to capture the emotional essence of good and sad times. These days, her gift for portraying children navigating the turbulence of life feels especially necessary.” —Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Tasteful, affecting and never maudlin.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Wild is no stranger to challenging picture book topics, and here she both evokes unflinchingly and treats respectfully the emotions of a grieving child.” —Horn Book Magazine

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Henry and his dog Hopper have grown up together; they sleep together contentedly every night. But one afternoon Henry comes home from school to find no Hopper there to greet him. His father tells him sadly that Hopper has been killed in an accident. Henry cannot bear to sleep in his bed alone. He can't even tell his friends. But the next night he sees Hopper in the window, and joyfully goes out to play with him. The next day he wonders whether it was a dream. That night Hopper returns, but a little less solid looking. The following night he is not at the window. Henry sees him at the back door, "...wispy as winter fog..." He carries Hopper to his bed, then whispers, "Good-bye." This straightforward story of learning to deal with death is depicted in double-page scenes of vigorous action. Charcoal-sketched outlines with added naturalistic watercolor and gouache paints create the characters and settings. Emotions, at first joyous interactions, then grief, are expressed in swirling lines and body postures; these are repeated in the spiritual scenes of reunion. This is a fine addition to the literature of coping with the loss of any person or pet. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—A poignant depiction of grief at the loss of a beloved pet is relayed in this quietly moving story. Young Harry and his father adopt an energetic, bouncy black-and-white puppy that Harry appropriately names Hopper. The two develop a strong relationship, helping each other out and even sharing Harry's bed. One day, the boy's father breaks the news to Harry that his dog has been killed in an accident, but the child can't accept that reality. He also can't say good-bye to Hopper before he's buried in the yard and he can't stay in his lonely bed, choosing instead to sleep on the living-room couch. At school, Harry keeps to himself and doesn't tell anyone about what happened. How he comes to terms with his grief is touching and will resonate with children as well as adults who have experienced such a loss. Blackwood's laser print with watercolor, gouache, and charcoal illustrations adeptly show the exuberance of the close friendship and the sadness when it ends. A range of perspectives, varying sizes of pictures, and the change in color palette, from bright to muted back to bright, communicate the story visually, and the understated text conveys the emotions realistically. An affecting combination of pictures and words.—Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI
Kirkus Reviews

A young boy's journey of grief. Harry's new puppy can't stop hopping all around him, giving the boy inspiration for his name. Hopper and Harry are soon inseparable; the black-and-white pooch even sleeps on Harry's bed (at first at the foot, before hecreeps up to the head). One day, Harry comes home from school to the bad news that Hopper has been killed in an accident. Harry never even had a chance to say goodbye. He wanders around in a daze, can't sleep and doesn't tell his friends at school what's happened. In the middle of the night, Hopper magically appears at his window. Overjoyed, Harry stays up all that night and the next playing with Hopper. The third night, Harry waits, but Hopper doesn't return. At midnight, Harry sees a shadow of Hopper, "as wispy as winter fog"—it's his chance to say goodbye. Blackwood's beautiful illustrations—laser print with watercolor, gouache and charcoal—add an appropriate layer of melancholy toWild's clean, economical prose. Tasteful, affecting and never maudlin.(Picture book. 5-8)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312642617
  • Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
  • Publication date: 1/18/2011
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 713,833
  • Age range: 2 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

MARGARET WILD is the author of many beloved picture books, including Fox, Our Granny, and her Fall 2009 book for Feiwel and Friends, Puffling.

 

FREYA BLACKWOOD has illustrated numerous picture books including Her Mother's Face by Roddy Doyle. Both author and artist live in Australia.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 19, 2010

    Tear-joker yet must read!

    This story is definitely sad, yet good and heart-touching. It shows the reader from how they met through Harry's grieving process and him coming to his own time of readyness to say a good-bye to best boddy Hopper. Most likely anyone who had a doggy best friend in ones life would totally understand and be able to relate to Harry. (The reader doesn't have to be a doggy-lover.) If you've enjoyed watching "My Dog Skip" movie, you'd like this story. Also, it'd be a good book to read with children because it shows them how people deal with death/grief over loved ones. I would say this is a must-read-book.

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