Parker, Marjorie Blain
About terminally ill dog who is part of a loving family
Amazon Editorial Reviews
From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3-Knowing that their beloved dog Jasper, now close to death from cancer, must be euthanized, a family takes a day to celebrate their pet’s life and what he has meant to them. The difficult situation is described gently, but realistically. The chalk-pastel illustrations match the tone of the narrative and help project an atmosphere of warmth and affection. Riley understands that Jasper’s illness has affected his sight, hearing, and freedom of movement. He is sad, but agrees with his parents that the animal is in pain and he should not have to suffer. On Jasper’s Day, the family takes him to several places they have enjoyed together-a stream, the ice-cream store, and Grandma’s house. Riley’s dad then drives the dog to the veterinarian, who “is going to give Jasper a shot. It will be quick and gentle. For Jasper, it will be just like going to sleep. He won’t be asleep, though. Jasper will be dead.” Later the family buries him in the backyard. The end of the story acknowledges and validates Riley’s feelings about the loss of his pet. This book would be helpful bibliotherapy for children in similar situations. For those with healthy pets, however, the story may be upsetting. Adults should evaluate whether a particular child would benefit from the story.
Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher’s School, Richmond, VA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 1-3. This poignant picture book will touch a chord with anyone who has ever lost a pet. At first, it’s not clear exactly what is happening, and that is intentional. Children only know that it’s Jasper’s day, and everything the family has planned is in honor of the sweet Golden retriever. When Riley, the young narrator, explains, “Jasper’s cancer has returned,” things become clearer. Jasper is spending his last day doing all the things he loves: eating bacon and eggs (with pain pills hidden in his food); going for a ride to a favorite stream; taking a trip to Grandma’s house with a stop for ice cream along the way. The family brings a camera to record all the happy moments. Then it’s time to go to the clinic. Parker does not sugarcoat the fact that Jasper is being put down: “[the shot] will be quick and gentle. For Jasper, it will be just like going to sleep. He won’t be asleep, though. Jasper will be dead.” But the happiness of the day and the genuine emotions portrayed in Wilson’s affecting pastel art soften the blow. A celebration of life that will remind children to make the most of every moment with those they love. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association.
Amazon Reader Review
Jasper’s Day is a not only a must for every dog owner of the world, it is also a must if you own or have ever owned and lost a pet. This is a perfect addition to every home library. Not only is it a tender engaging story, but it can be used to help kids understand and work through their own feelings of loss and grief.