Chasing shadows by Corinne Felton
Ill. by Hannah Summerville. Ford St., 2014. ISBN 9781925000146.
(Age: 7+) Death, Grief, Animals. The photo frames on the title page show us a happy smiling family, but turning over the reader is alerted to the fact that there are now only two, Beth and her Dad. He brings home a puppy, Patches for her, but she is unable to respond, she is still grieving. While Patches explores his new home, Beth sits alone in the window, or in the comfy chair, or looking at the photos. Patches runs and jumps, sniffs and plays, chases leaves and walks with Dad. But all the while he keeps his eyes on Beth, curls up at her feet, waiting.
One day as Beth watches out of the window, she spies Patches in the long grass, a snake nearby. When the dog is bitten she runs outside to bring him in, caring for him as he gets better. The bond is set.
This is a charming story, deceptively simple of a child grieving for her mother who has died. The lovely soft watercolour illustrations show her moping around the house, unable to concentrate or turn to attention to anything else. Her father can only watch as his daughter grieves, but in bringing a dog into her life, hopes this will help her, which it eventually does.