STARRED REVIEW
May 03, 2016

Remembering a friend with help from someone new

By Amy Hest, illustrated by Amy June Bates

The team of Amy Hest and Amy Bates, co-creators of The Dog Who Belonged to No One (2008), return in this heartwarming tale sure to appeal to the youngest dog lovers and their parents. (Watch out: It might lead to requests to add a new puppy to the household.)

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The team of Amy Hest and Amy Bates, co-creators of The Dog Who Belonged to No One (2008), return in this heartwarming tale sure to appeal to the youngest dog lovers and their parents. (Watch out: It might lead to requests to add a new puppy to the household.)

One cloudy day at the beach, a boy encounters a truly adorable black-and-white puppy with no collar or tags. Yet even when the little dog helps him dig a sand castle, the boy isn’t quite ready to scoop the stray up. Instead, the newcomer just serves to remind the boy of his old pal, Oscar. “I know what you want. You want to be pals,” the boy observes. But there can only be one pal for him: “My old pal. Oscar. My one and only dog.”

But the little dog is persistent, following at the boy’s heels. As they walk, the boy is reminded of how much Oscar loved windy days walking by the seashore, and how the boy came to the beach the day after Oscar died. Like Oscar, the puppy isn’t quite sure about dark clouds and thunder. When the storm breaks, the boy scoops his new friend up to run home through the wind, just like he and Oscar used to do.

With its simple text and gentle pencil and watercolor illustrations, this story about letting new love into one’s life comes to a satisfying conclusion with a sleepy boy and puppy curled up at home, together at last.

 

Deborah Hopkinson lives near Portland, Oregon. Her most recent book for young readers is A Bandit's Tale.

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My Old Pal, Oscar

My Old Pal, Oscar

By Amy Hest, illustrated by Amy June Bates
Abrams
ISBN 9781419719011

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