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Harry Goes To Heaven

$ 14.90
MCA Gold Award
Author(s): Jane Sayre Denny
Audience: children grieving the loss of a pet

How do you tell a small child that the pet they love will soon die? Their little hearts break so easily, and they love their pets so much. How will they take it? Will they understand at all? Maybe this will help.

Harry Goes To Heaven is the story of a pet cat who becomes ill, prompting The Talk between a mother and child about what happens when “people and animals get so old or so sick that we can’t make them better.”

It is written with great sensitivity for a child’s tender feelings, and respect for a pet’s honored place in the family. Told from the child’s point of view, after sharing all the things that made Harry special, the story tracks his illness and eventual passing while omitting details the age group may not understand. The author does not minimize the grief of losing a pet and both mother and child openly weep. At the same time, the author spares the young reader more tears than necessary in that Harry dies one day while the child is at Grandma’s.

During The Talk, we see Heaven through the child’s eyes, as she imagines not only what it might be like in general, but also what it will be like for Harry in particular. Mom says he will see his brother there, and ”when the Angels find out what a good boy he’s been, he’ll get his wings right away.” After Harry is gone, the child sees him in a dream, just as Mom said she might, since our loved ones “always try to let us know they got to Heaven safely.”

Empathetic and gorgeously illustrated, Harry Goes To Heaven is spiritual without referencing any specific religion or creed. The author takes care to write for any audience, regardless of belief, so that any child (or adult!) losing a treasured pet may be comforted by Harry Goes To Heaven.

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