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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Stay: A Girl, A Dog and a Bucket List. Written by Kate Klise and illustrated by M. Sarah Klise. Feiwel and Friends, Macmillan. Raincoast, 2017. $24.99 ages 4 and up

"Astrid and Eli had many
things in common. They
lived in the same house,
ate at the same table, and
slept in the same bed.

There was only one
difference: Astrid was
a girl, and Eli was a boy.
And a dog."

Eli has always been Astrid's best friend. From the day her parents returned from the hospital with Astrid in their arms, Eli has been her 'personal bodyguard, her favorite pillow, and sometimes her best hiding place.' They have a mutual admiration society and are rarely apart.

As happens, Astrid grows up and Eli grows older. It is the way of life. Together, they share many wonderful moments. Recognizing that Eli is aging faster than she is, Astrid decides to create a bucket list, thus ensuring that she and Eli will experience as many adventures together as they possibly can. Not everything on the list is accessible for an aging dog. Astrid finds a way to help Eli with riding a bike, checking out library books about dogs, seeing a movie, sleeping under the stars, having a bubble bath, and a final treat that is not exactly what Eli had hoped.

As the unpredictability of aging causes Eli to remain at home, Astrid adjusts. She does check with him to make sure they have missed nothing. Eli is content.

"Being with Astrid was the only thing
left on Eli's list.
It was the only thing that had ever
been on Eli's bucket list."

Their story is so carefully and beautifully told, with accompanying acrylic artwork that adds detail and context. A gentle reminder that love wins every time!

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