Harry and Hopper

9781407111391

GREENAWAY MEDAL WINNER – 2010

Harry and Hopper

by Margaret Wild

illustrations by Freya Blackwood

Age: 3+

Interests: dogs, pets, death, grieving, fathers, single parents


Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan: 2009

32 pp.

Also by this author: Fox, Our Granny, Puffling

Harry’s best friend is his dog Hopper. They do everything together until the awful day Hopper is killed in an accident. Harry feels numb, he even refuses to come out and say goodbye as Dad buries the dog. But when Harry falls asleep Hopper appears and they play together again in his dreams. The second night Hopper is there again, but not quite as solid, not quite as warm. On the third night Hopper is outside, curled up under the window, “as wispy as winter fog, as cold as winter air.” Harry carries him inside and is finally able to say goodbye.

Very affecting, this book brought tears to my eyes (in the middle of a busy library). A book about losing a beloved pot, and letting go when the time is right. His Dad, too, is quietly supportive, as he gives Harry space and time to grieve in his own way.

The illustrations are sketchy, but warm and full of life. When Harry sits with his friends at school, not telling them about Hopper, his blank face is quietly heartbreaking. A really lovely book, but it packs an emotional punch, so think carefully about whether or not your child is ready for this topic. (Plus setting your child sobbing right at bedtime would probably be a strategic error.)

Sad and beautiful without being maudlin.

(available at amazon.com)

Harry--Hopper-by-Margaret-027 freya-blackwood Illustration-from-Harry---024 image+2

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All writings posted here are © Kim Thompson, unless otherwise indicated. For all artwork on this site, copyright is retained by the artist.