"This gentle book is a truthful and tender exploration of a child's experience...eloquently acknowledging both the pain of loss and the possibility of consolation."
Author of The Tenth Good Thing About Barney
and the Alexander Books
Lulu is a black-and-white, elderly dog who is adored by the unnamed narrator of this gracefully told story of love and loss. The little girl who tells the story knows that Lulu is old and unwell; even though she helps care for Lulu and sees the dog's decline, she doesn't want to face what is coming. The dog's death and the child's anger, sadness, and eventual acceptance are handled sensitively and in terms appropriate for children just learning about death, always underscored with gentle, realistic support from the girl's quietly understanding parents. The story concludes several months later with the little girl picking out a new puppy and realizing that she can start to love another dog. Hoyt's perceptive illustrations in watercolor with colored pencil and ink help create convincing personalities for both Lulu and the little girl and add a timeless, cozy quality that contributes to the story's reassuring tone.
-- Kirkus Reviews
A girl cares tenderly for her old dog Lulu, whose vision, hearing, and general health are declining. Though she wishes that they could play together as they used to, she knows that her dog will not get well. Lulu dies and is buried in the back yard, but it takes some months before the girl can say goodbye. As the story ends, she meets her new puppy and find that her heart has room for Lulu and her new dog too. This first person narrative relates events and expresses the girl's feelings in a matter-on-fact, yet affecting way. When Lulu dies, the narrator is torn between longing and fear: "I wanted to say goodbye, but I was afraid, too." Demas uses sensory details to bring the story to life: the child doesn't just miss Lulu, she misses the thump of her tail and the softness of her fur. Hoyt's expressive illustrations, ink and colored pencil drawings washed with watercolors, reflect the tone of the text and show the child's sadness without sentimentality. In one particularly effective spread, the girls sits alone on her school bus, isolated in her stillness from the other children. A sensitive, positive portrayal.
--Booklist (Starred Review)
Demas uses an abundance of sensory details to deepen this honest, heartfelt story of a child’s adjustment to the death of a beloved pet, and Hoyt’s expressive art affectingly reflects the poignancy of the text, capturing the child’s sadness without sentimentality.
--Booklist Editors' Choice 2004
Lulu, a black-and-white mutt, is adored by her freckle-faced owner, a girl whose parents gently guide her through the various stages of caring for an aging and then very sick dog. When the inevitable happens, memories of the past and hope for the future bring a bittersweet conclusion to this straightforward and affecting story. The emotions of the nameless narrator are clearly and simply shown. She describes how, when Lulu became blind and deaf, she "-fed her from my hand and held her water bowl so she could drink." The pictures, too, excel in tenderness without sentimentality. The realistic-looking cartoons, done with watercolor, colored pencil, and pen and ink, strongly convey the personalities of both girl and dog as they share good times and difficult moments.
-- School Library Journal
Heart-rending...readers will surely be affected by the author's spare, sad description of Lulu's death and burial, the girl's grieving -- and her expected change of heart about acquiring another pet. Rendered in watercolor, colored pencil and pen-and-ink and featuring a pastel-dominated palette, Hoyt's lively, homespun art nimbly conveys the range of emotions that run through this comforting story.
How do you honor a loved one and still move on with your life? Saying Goodbye to Lulu is one of the best books we’ve read on pet loss for children. The young narrator moves through various stages of grief, and experiences emotions that anyone who has lost a pet, no matter how old or young, can relate to. It’s sweet without being sentimental, and presents the truth without losing any tenderness. Ard Hoyt’s illustrations are perfect.
-- ASPCA Store
This sweet, not overly sentimental picture book explores a little girl's feelings when her dog Lulu gets very old and then dies. It recognizes the child's pain and anger, but also shows readers that the possibility of happiness is also there-whether in the form of a new puppy or a cherry tree dedicated to Lulu's life. A perfect book to read to a child who's experienced a loss. Demas' tale is gentle and kind and positive and Hoyt's drawings convey a gamut of emotions.
--Lodi News-Sentinel (Lodi, California)
Demas has written a touching story of a young girl and her dog. She writes tenderly of fond memories, the painful present, and the scary future. Hoy's illustrations, done in a realistic cartoon style, convey a wide range of feelings. The girl's main emotional crutch is to keep saying "but I already knew that." Over and over she learns the difference between knowing something and experiencing it. When the proper remembrance of Lulu is completed and she is able to welcome a new puppy, she tells him she loves him, too, But, of course, "he already knows that."
--Wichita Eagle (Wichita, Kansas)
Saying Goodbye to LuLu is a touching look at loss, grief and going on. It is a tenderly written account from a child's perspective, making it an excellent vehicle for helping children understand grief.
Pets give us so much joy that their deaths are devastating. Children who have lost a beloved animal--whether recently or 30 years ago-- will appreciate Saying Goodbye to Lulu . . . It's a fine collaboration, a book that will fill a need.
--St. Louis Post-Dispatch
This beautiful story is one that will touch the hearts of all who have loved, regardless of age. We all have had our Lulus and shed tears at that final goodbye.
-- Tampa Tribune
An accessible story about Lulu, a black-and-white mutt, and the little girl who loves her, this book follows a family as they care for an aging and then very sick dog. When Lulu eventually passes, the family reminisces about their memories with Lulu, and validates the little girl's feelings of grief and loss. Since most kids' books have a boy as the central character, this is an especially great kids' book for anyone with daughters dealing with losing a pet.
Checking over the page proofs at Little, Brown's office in New York, April 24, 2003. I'm sitting at the conference table between my editor, Mary Gruetzke (left) and the book's designer, Saho Fujii.
When my dog Lulu got really old
she couldn't climb the stairs anymore.
She'd wait for me at the bottom
and her tail would go thump, thump.
Sometimes she didn't hear me calling her,
and when we went on walks she stayed close beside me because she couldn't see well.
1. Ask for it at your local library. If they don't have it, they may be able to get it for you from another library.
2. Buy it at your local bookstore. If they don't have it in stock, they can always order it for you.
Ard Hoyt was born in Temple,
Texas and some of his very first memories are of being lost in the illustrations
and the stories in children's books. He says his "very favorite" is The
Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf , drawings by Robert Lawson.
"These books took me places I had never imagined I could go," says Ard, "and I have been traveling ever since in stories and in pictures of my own."
Ard is a graduate of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. He's illustrated several books including One-Dog Canoe by Mary Casanova and I'm a Manatee by John Lithgow.
About the making of this book, Ard writes: " Lulu was a big challenge for me in many ways, I love my characters, I want to live at their house and do what they do --and even cry when they cry and so I was not looking forward to losing Lulu. But like the little girl, I will have her memory and miss her with fondness too. So glad she was mine too in a way. What a wonderful dog she was, a matriarch in the family and the dearest friend to a little girl. I am glad to have had the opportunity to illustrate the book."
Ard lives in Arkansas with his wife and three daughters, oh yes-- and a lovable mutt named Lickerish, who's pictured with him here.