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Review of Stay: A Girl, a Dog, a Bucket List

Stay: A Girl, a Dog, a Bucket List
by Kate Klise; illus. by M. Sarah Klise
Primary    Feiwel    32 pp.
7/17    978-1-250-10714-5    $17.99

Astrid (a girl) and Eli (a dog) have been best friends since the newborn Astrid first came home from the hospital. They enjoy birthdays and popcorn and playgrounds, and dream of spaghetti and meatballs in a fancy restaurant. As Eli ages, Astrid creates a bucket list for the pair to acquit together: going for a bike ride, checking books out of the library, attending a movie show (more popcorn!), and sleeping under the stars. In the end, though, they both come to understand that it is the togetherness that really matters. “Being with Astrid was the only thing left on Eli’s bucket list. It was the only thing that had ever been on Eli’s bucket list.” Quirky and delightful on its surface, this poignant picture book opens the door to deeper considerations of eventual loss. A tender tension between the author’s ebullient text and her illustrator sister’s touching acrylic paintings — particularly the exquisite portrayals of the two protagonists — delicately suggests the inevitable without any overt occurrence. The framed photos on the living-room walls and the apparent subject matter of the pair’s library books (they’re all about dogs) communicate even more about the special relationship between a child and a dog, and the precious value of taking care of the ones you love.

From the July/August 2017 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.


Thom Barthelmess About Thom Barthelmess

Thom Barthelmess is Youth Services Manager for the Whatcom County Library System in northwest Washington State.



  1. Just this week I was really blown away by this book. Yes I own dogs and I am a longtime animal lovers, but rarely have I come across a work that so effectively make the human-aniomal connection as movingly as this one. The pastel acrylics here are extraordinarily beautiful and the book really grabs you by the throat. It is now one of my supreme favorites for 2017, and I much appreciate this fantastic and perceptive piece here.

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