by Mo Willems
City Dog goes into the country and sees a creature sitting on a rock. It is Country Frog, and he is waiting for a friend… but City Dog will do. So they play games all spring. They play games all summer. In fall, they remember all the fun they had. In winter….
I picked this book up, thinking it was going to be classic weird Mo Willems humour, albeit with a different style of illustration. I was wrong! Definitely a sad story, with a bittersweet ending. The watercolor illustrations are perfect, capturing the joys of friendship and the sorrows of mourning. I actually can’t stop myself from leafing through this book every time I see it, so much so that I have memorized the story and can tell it without having the book handy (which is not recommended because the illustrations really do enrich the story). It is a beautiful story with such expressive illustrations. I don’t typically add “issues” books to my own personal collection, but I definitely want a copy of this to call my own.
Good for someone looking for a picture book story about death or loss, without it being didactic or about a specific person in a child’s life. I wouldn’t reserve it for that type of storytelling, though, since I think it can be a nice conversation piece about friendship, disappointment, the seasons, life cycles, things being beyond your control, moving on, and probably a lot more. The death in it is subtle and there is no talk of any sort of spiritual afterlife, so it is acceptable for any belief system.