THE LONGEST LETSGOBOY
By: Derick Wilder
Illustrated by: Cátia Chien
Published: October 26, 2021
Publisher: Chronicle Kids
If you have struggled with how to explain the death of a pet or a loved one to your child, this might be the best book for you. A young girl and her dog take one final walk together experiencing all their favorites one last time.
An old dog sets out with his the girl he calls Little. Then in “dog speak” and realistic descriptions the dog takes us on one last journey. He says goodbye to the “tweeters” (birds), tallsticks, colorfuls, and leafies (trees and leaves). They reply that they will keep Little safe. At the end of the day, a peaceful distant “Letsgoboy” comes from the clouds and calls him home. As the year goes by, the dog watches from above and then notices a new puppy taking over his role and making Little happy again.
Oh my goodness, this one made me cry. I truly feel the author has grasped such a heartwarming way to explain death and loss to a child. Whether they have lost a grandparent or their favorite pet, this sweet, simple story offers kids an understanding that it is okay to be sad, okay to miss them, and okay to move on when they are ready. But, even when you move on, you will always remember them and know their loved one is watching over them.
The illustrations are just so lovely and calming. Her imagination of what the dog is envisioning and making it real for the reader are spot on. I’m not sure if I loved the story or the illustrations more. The prose is poetic and also offers a calm feeling when read aloud. If you know a family that has lost a pet or loved one, this is THE book to give them.