Yes, I’m reviewing another picture book but who can blame me when some of the most beautiful stories are told within these illustrative covers.
Harry and Hopper broke my heart, but in a good way; a way in which my faith in humanity, love and devotion is restored. The story, written by Margaret Wild is all about a boy called Harry and a dog called Hopper who were each others best friend and lived their lives happily together. But one day Hopper dies and Harry is devastated and so lost. Without Hopper, Harry has lost his identity, and more importantly he has lost his friend and has been left behind. Understandably, Harry isn’t ready to let go and tragically starts to see Hopper everywhere he goes.
As time goes by, so too do the memories of Hopper as Harry fears he will forget about him but through grieving and facing up to his loss, Harry learns to move on with his life, but without forgetting who his best friend once was.
This is a heartbreaking and heartwarming story and resounds in the same way as Judith Kerr’s ‘Goodbye Mog’ and Susan Varley’s ‘Badger’s Parting Gifts’ did in talking about death and grievance.
I would certainly recommend this as a book to use when trying to explain to a child that the grief they are feeling towards losing a loved one is absolutely fine. The illustrations perfectly depict how easy it is for Harry to imagine Hopper to be there in his bedroom with him, and how quickly he can go away. It’s a beautiful book to give to a child because there’s a true message that you shouldn’t be afraid, and you should enjoy your best moments with your best friend…as Harry and Hopper certainly did.
Harry and Hopper is published by Scholastic, £6.99 ISBN: 9781407111391