book review: sally goes to heaven

By Stephen Huneck 

Tackles: Death of a pet 

Age Range: 4-8 years

Genre: Picture Book

This book tells the story of a dog named sally that dies and goes to heaven. This book puts a unique spin on the well written topic of death, and more specifically the death of a pet, by focusing on Sally’s experiences in heaven and how much she enjoys it. The beginning does mention Sally not feeling well and passing away, but when she wakes up she is in heaven and the rest of the book documents those experiences. There is no mention of the family and their sadness or grief, it does not explain how the child deals with the loss, or what happens to Sally’s body. This book is unique in that it focuses on Sally’s good time in heaven to ease the mind of the readers and let them know that their pet is happy in a good place. The title mentions heaven, but their is no religious aspect and heaven is not explained, it is used more to represent a generally nice place in the afterlife. 

There’s no better word to describe the animation style other than adorable, and the book is filled with sweet moments, like when Sally finds out that meatballs grow on trees, and even the smallest dogs can reach them. The book is also racially diverse and includes an array of skin tones, which is always a welcome addition in children’s books, and books in general. 

This book puts a unique view on its topic and I can see this being very beneficial in conjunction with other books about death and for children that need comfort after the death of a pet.  There is no additional resources or explanations, but I don’t think that this book needs any to serve its purpose. 

10 out of 10 belly rubs 

Buy it here.

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