Saying Goodbye to Lulu

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A young girl and her lovable dog, Lulu, are the best of friends. They play games together, explore their neighborhood, and even cuddle up to read bedtime stories each night. Lulu is the best dog a girl could ever hope for, but when she grows older and gradually becomes weak, the little girl must face the sad possibility of losing her dear friend, and inevitably, cope with the death of her canine companion. Though she is deeply saddened by Lulu's passing and misses her very much, over time the little girl ...

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A young girl and her lovable dog, Lulu, are the best of friends. They play games together, explore their neighborhood, and even cuddle up to read bedtime stories each night. Lulu is the best dog a girl could ever hope for, but when she grows older and gradually becomes weak, the little girl must face the sad possibility of losing her dear friend, and inevitably, cope with the death of her canine companion. Though she is deeply saddened by Lulu's passing and misses her very much, over time the little girl discovers that the sweet memory of her beloved Lulu will live on forever... in her heart.

With realistic, hopeful illustrations by Ard Hoyt, this tender tale offers an accessible lens to young children learning to understand and cope with the mixed emotions that come with the loss of a loved one.

When her dog Lulu dies, a girl grieves but then continues with her life.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Predictable yet heart-rending, Demas's (The Disappearing Island) tale opens as the young narrator explains what happens as her dog gets "really" old: Lulu doesn't climb stairs and her sight fails. The child carries her pet out to the grass when she can no longer walk and, as the dog's condition deteriorates, the child covers a sleeping Lulu with a sweater ("the one she always pulled off my chair and curled up with when I wasn't home") and lays down beside her, stroking her back and telling her that she loves her ("But she already knew that"). In a scene that seems compulsory in books on this theme, the girl's father reassures her that they will get another dog "after Lulu," and the child insists she doesn't want another dog but wants "Lulu back, the way she used to be." The mother's insightful observation that the dying pet is now much like she was as a newborn, when her eyes were not yet open and she slept all the time provides some comfort. Though they'll know what is coming, readers will surely be affected by the author's spare, sad description of Lulu's death and burial, the girl's grieving-and her expected change of heart about acquiring another pet. Rendered in watercolor, colored pencil and pen-and-ink and featuring a pastel-dominated palette, Hoyt's (I'm a Manatee) lively, homespun art nimbly conveys the range of emotions that run through this comforting story. Ages 4-8. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Our appealing narrator begins her story when her dog Lulu has begun to be unable to do all the things they used to enjoy doing together. Lulu can't walk any more, and has to be fed by hand. "I don't want another dog," she tells her parents. "I want Lulu back the way she used to be." When Lulu dies, she is of course sorely missed. But finally a new puppy begins to heal the wound and bring new happiness. The front end-papers show our narrator and dog walking along a country lane. The rear pages depict a similar scene but with a different, younger dog. The story pages, deftly created light-heartedly with watercolors, pencil, pen and ink, make the connection in time with scenes of sentimental appeal, heavy on both the sadness of loss and the eventual joy of a new beginning. Both heroine and dogs are charmingly real. Compare with Emily Chichester Clark's recent Up in Heaven (Doubleday) for another fine way to help children cope with a pet dog's death. 2004, Little Brown and Company, Ages 4 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Lulu, a black-and-white mutt, is adored by her freckle-faced owner, a girl whose parents gently guide her through the various stages of caring for an aging and then very sick dog. When the inevitable happens, memories of the past and hope for the future bring a bittersweet conclusion to this straightforward and affecting story. The emotions of the nameless narrator are clearly and simply shown. She describes how, when Lulu became blind and deaf, she "-fed her from my hand and held her water bowl so she could drink." The pictures, too, excel in tenderness without sentimentality. The realistic-looking cartoons, done with watercolor, colored pencil, and pen and ink, strongly convey the personalities of both girl and dog as they share good times and difficult moments. While this book does not break any new ground, it is accessible and appealing, and the death of a pet is a perennial childhood issue. Two similar titles, DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan's A Dog Like Jack (Holiday, 1999) and Marjorie Blain Parker's Jasper's Day (Kids Can, 2002), feature boys as main characters, so a book about a girl facing the same situation is welcome.-Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Lulu is a black-and-white, elderly dog who is adored by the unnamed narrator of this gracefully told story of love and loss. The little girl who tells the story knows that Lulu is old and unwell; even though she helps care for Lulu and sees the dog's decline, she doesn't want to face what is coming. The dog's death and the child's anger, sadness, and eventual acceptance are handled sensitively and in terms appropriate for children just learning about death, always underscored with gentle, realistic support from the girl's quietly understanding parents. The story concludes several months later with the little girl picking out a new puppy and realizing that she can start to love another dog. Hoyt's perceptive illustrations in watercolor with colored pencil and ink help create convincing personalities for both Lulu and the little girl and add a timeless, cozy quality that contributes to the story's reassuring tone. (Picture book. 3-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316047494
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 326,683
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.80 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Corinne Demas always wanted a dog when she was a child, but the New York City apartment building where she grew up didn't allow them. Since then, she's had three dogs: Melly, Suba, and Argos. She is the award-winning author of numerous books for children and adults. Her most recent picture book is Always In Trouble. Demas lives with her family in Massachusetts and is a professor of English at Mount Holyoke College. Her Web site is

Ard Hoyt has illustrated several books for children, including I'm a Manatee, by John Lithgow. He is the proud owner of a mutt named Lickerish, and lives with his wife and three children in Arkansas.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2011

    Wonderful for young children dealing with death

    This story beautifully illustrates what happens to our bodies as we die and the feelings we may have after someone we love dies without any religious bias. It helped my child understand what she would see at a funeral and burial and gave her words to express her emotions after her grandfather died. My only warning is that the little girl gets a new dog at the end of the book and my daughter (3 years old) was very upset initially that the dog had been "replaced."

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