Pumpkin and Me

NubeOcho. Apr. 2022. 40p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9788417673925.
PreS-Gr 3–A young girl narrates as she grieves her pet dog in this heartwarming and comforting picture book. The opening spreads reveal that Pumpkin the dog is very old and very tired; one day, he closes his eyes and dies. The protagonist explains that everyone in her family is sad and misses Pumpkin. She begins to experience “strange things,” such as a black cloud hanging over her head, a never-ending flow of tears, and a sensation that an octopus is squeezing her heart and making it hurt. She seeks out her family members; each adult listens to and validates her experience. After her discussions with family, the young girl dreams about Pumpkin visiting her and is reminded of how lucky she was to have had Pumpkin at all. She also acknowledges that while she may feel the cloud, tears, and octopus again, she will draw comfort in the knowledge that Pumpkin will always be with her. Acosta’s straightforward and reassuring text is expertly complemented by Galí’s muted cartoon illustrations.
VERDICT An honest and realistic take on death and grief. A valuable addition to any collection.

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