Thursday, December 5, 2019

The Iron Man by Ted Hughes Illustrated by Chris Mould

The Iron Man by Ted Hughes Illustrated by Chris Mould
Published August 2019 Faber and Faber

Stunning illustrations by Chris Mould make this one of the most exciting editions of The Iron Man to be published.

The Iron Man came to the top of the cliff.
Where had he come from? Nobody knows.
How was he made? Nobody knows.

Mankind must put a stop to the dreadful destruction by the Iron Man and set a trap for him, but he cannot be kept down. Then, when a terrible monster from outer space threatens to lay waste to the planet, it is the Iron Man who finds a way to save the world.

Iron Man has been described as one of the greatest modern fairy tales...and I don't think I have read it...until now.  I may have, years ago, but I have no memory of it.  Guilty as I am of judging a book by its cover, I was drawn to this edition.  It's a hardback, large size, (height: 28cm) and beautiful bronze lettering and highlights on the's beautiful...and it made me pick it up...and even read it!

My first thought is 'why have I never read this?'..the language is captivating, right from the start and it would be an amazing 'read a loud'.  Chris Mould's illustrations work perfectly and  most definitely add something to the story for me.  The colours evoke the right mood, and the layout keeps the reader engaged in the story.

I would love to say that I would have enjoyed this story just as much if I had read it years ago in an earlier edition...but we'll never know.  All I can say is that I am glad to have read it in this one.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Zenobia by Morten Durr and illustrated by Lars Horneman

Zenobia by Morten Durr and illustrated by Lars Horneman
October 2018 UQP

Zenobia was once a great warrior queen of Syria whose reign reached from Egypt to Turkey. She was courageous. No-one gave her orders. Once she even went to war against the emperor of Rome.

When things feel overwhelming for Amina, her mother reminds her to think of Zenobia and be strong. Amina is a Syrian girl caught up in a war that reaches her village. To escape the war she boards a small boat crammed with other refugees. The boat is rickety and the turbulent seas send Amina overboard. In the dark water Amina remembers playing hide and seek with her mother and making dolmas and the journey she had to undertake with her uncle to escape. And she thinks of the brave warrior Zenobia.

Zenobia is a heartbreaking and all-too-real story of one child's experience of war. Told with great sensitivity in few words and almost exclusively with pictures, Zenobia is a story for everyone.

This is not a new one, just over a year old...but as I wasn't doing much in the way of Instagram or blogging back then, I thought I would say a few words about it now.

Zenobia is a perfect example of visual literacy, and the impact it can have on a reader. 

At first glance it would be easy to think that this is book for younger readers.  It's a larger format  (about A5 size) graphic novel, very little text...but it would have to be one of the most powerful refugee stories I have read.  

The colour changes in the illustrations show what part of the story is told in present day, and the parts that are memories of what has led the Amina to this point.  The present day illustrations are full colour, while the memories are depicted in a sepia like tone.  Like so many regugee stories, we see Amina living her life, happily in her village until the day her parents leave and don't come back.  Leaving her home, that is now nothing but rubble, with her uncle, who pays her way onto a boat, her only hope at survival...

I talk about this book a lot in schools, and I warn the students not to flick though this one and dismiss as a book for younger readers.  I tell them to be prepared to be prepared for confronting images and a a heart wrenching story.  It's the kind of book that you read, and when you get to the end you think...hang on did that just happen, and when you realise that it did, it will break your heart.

Excellent Teachers Notes available here.

Friday, November 22, 2019

488 Rules For Life by Kitty Flanagan

488 Rules For Life by Kitty Flanagan
Published November 2019 Allen & Unwin

488 Rules for Life is not a self-help book, because it's not you who needs help, it's other people. Whether they're walking and texting, asphyxiating you on public transport with their noxious perfume cloud, or leaving one useless square of toilet paper on the roll, a lot of people just don't know the rules. But thanks to Kitty Flanagan's comprehensive guide to modern behaviour, our world will soon be a much better place.
A place where people don't ruin the fruit salad by putting banana in it ... where your co-workers respect your olfactory system and don't reheat their fish curry in the office microwave ... where middle aged men don't have ponytails ...
What started as a joke on Kitty Flanagan's popular segment on ABC TV's The Weekly, is now a quintessential reference book with the power to change society. (Or, at least, make it a bit less irritating.)
What people are (Kitty Flanagan is) saying about this book: 'You're welcome everyone.' 'Thank god for me.' 'I'd rather be sad and lonely, but right.' 'There's not actually 488 rules in here but it sure feels like it'.

This book may have started out as a joke, but I challenge you, as a reader, not to start nodding your head at some of the rules, thinking 'yes, absolutely...that should be a rule!'

The book is divided into sections, and you can see that Kitty has been very thorough... all areas are covered!
  • The Fundamental Rule 
  • Around the Home
  • Health & Lifestyle
  • At the Office
  • Language
  • Planes, Trains & Automobiles
  • Food
  • Relationships & Dating
  • Parenting
  • Fashion
  • At the Movies
  • At the Shops
  • Technology
  • Sport
  • Parties & Celebrations
  • Holidays & Travel
  • Art & Entertainment
  • The Final Rule
Rule 1: The Fundamental Rule
If you don't agree with a rule, forget about it, move on to the next one.
Whatever you do, don't get angry, and start bleating on social media about how it is impossible to live your life by these 488 rules.  That's not what this book is about.

What this book is about, is fun.  It's a book you don't have to read from front to back, it's the perfect little pick me up when you just want something light and refreshing to read... something that will put a smile on your face.

Of course I have my favourite rules, as you will too,

At the Movies
Rule 279
Leave a courtesy buffer seat: If I am honest I would like a courtesy buffer around me at all times in life, but I will take 'at the movies' as a start.  Why do people sit next to you at the movies when there are spare seats...I will never understand that kind of madness.

Health & Lifestyle
Rule 36
Dress according to the standard of cyclist you are.  I don't believe have to say anymore

Technology - Mobile Phones
Rule 311
Use your inside voice.  Honestly, I really don't need (or want to) hear the drama that is going on in a strangers life.

Then there are the rules I am guilty of...I guarantee you'll find those in there too:

Rule 429
Never tell someone the book (or movie ) has a twist. I am very good at not giving away ending, but I have been known to mention a twist or two.  

Rule 131
Calling it 'cacao'  doesn't make it healthier than cocoa. I have a 'healthy' cup of hot cacao every morning...

And did you know that there is a 'right ' way to cut an orange? I didn't, but it's right there on page 107, pics in my Instagram story.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Changeover by Margaret Mahy

The Changeover by Margaret Mahy
This edition published 1985 by Methuen Children's Books Ltd


'A clammy hand pressed Laura down to her knees beside Jacko's bed. It was the hand of terror, nothing less.'
It was a warning. Laura felt it when she looked in the mirror that morning. There had been others: the day her father left home, the day she met Sorensen - the boy with the strange silver eyes.
But nothing had prepared Laura for the horror of today. And now her little brother, Jacko, was fighting for his life after being sucked dry of his youth by the sinister Carmody Braque.
Laura knows there is only one way to save Jacko; she must join Sorensen and use his supernatural powers to change over if there is to be any hope for her little brother.

This would be one of the oldest books on my shelf.
This is a 1985 edition of one of my all time favourites., The Changeover by the legendary Margaret Mahy.

Way back when...
when I used to re-read books this one was near to the top of that list, it has been read a lot! 

What did I love about it so much? I am sure the ‘supernatural romance’ was a big part of it, I must have been 14 when I first read it. 
Nice new cover, 2017 edition.

I also like a good younger brother, older sister dynamic.  Being an older sister of a younger brother, there's something about this particular relationship that strikes a chord with me.  The other book that stands out like that for me is Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta.

And then there's the writing.  I am not saying that at 14 I was wise enough to recognise the literary greatness here, but I recognised a good story.  Looking back I feel lucky that a book like this made it into my hands and made me appreciate good writing and a good story...without even realising that's what was happening.

Might be time to give the yellowed pages of this one a spin again.

Does anyone else regularly re-read old favourites?

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Frostheart by Jamie Littler

Frostheart by Jamie Littler
Published November 2019 Penguin UK

Way out in the furthest part of the known world, a tiny stronghold exists all on its own, cut off from the rest of human-kin by monsters that lurk beneath the Snow Sea. There, a little boy called Ash waits for the return of his parents, singing a forbidden lullaby to remind him of them... and doing his best to avoid his very, VERY grumpy yeti guardian, Tobu.

But life is about to get a whole lot more crazy-adventurous for Ash. When a brave rescue attempt reveals he has amazing magical powers, he's whisked aboard the Frostheart, a sleigh packed full of daring explorers who could use his help. But can they help him find his family . . . ?

Bursting with brilliant characters, heart-stopping adventure and tons of laughs, this is a magical tale about being brave, looking out for your friends, and finding your place in the world.

I read that this was a cross between The Christmasaurus (Haven't read it, but I did love The Creakers) Frozen (haven't seen it), How to Train Your Dragon (haven't read it OR seen the movie)....So I had no expectation other than the fact that it didn't really sound like a book I would read, based on those comparisons.

I had to read this one for work, and I am glad I did.  I am learning, that even though I say I don’t read fantasy…I do, in fact, love a good story, regardless of the genre it's wrapped up in, and that’s what this one is…a good story…and look at the cover!

I always use the prologue in The Creakers, as an example of the perfect start to a book, every school visit, that opening gets the kids hooked. Chapter 1 in Frostheart is longer, but I guarantee the result will be the same.  Within the first 16 pages, the scene is set...icy cold snow covered plains, drama, conflict, terrifying creatures. We meet Ash, small but brave and we meet Lurkers, ferocious creatures longer than two men with ice sharp fangs.

Ash has been left by his parents, living in a community where he doesn't quite fit in.  When he is basically shunned from by the Fira people, for being a Song Weaver, a dying breed that can supposedly tame wild beasts with song. Ash finds himself on The Frostheart a ship like sleigh, crewed by a mixed bunch of misfits, Pathfinders, who have no home, and spend their lives travelling between strongholds, making their living as traders.  If Ash is ever going to find his parents, it will be with Pathfinders.

It’s with this ragtag group that Ash starts to put the pieces of a puzzle together.  His parents used to sing him a lullaby, and now Ash has realised that it’s actually the start of a set of clues he needs to follow. He’s not entirely sure why, but hopes his parents will be there at the end.

Frostheart is full of interesting characters, good guys, bad guys, new snow covered worlds and at its heart, it’s about being brave, finding people who accept you for what and who you are, and about finding your voice, and not being afraid to use it.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Three by Stephen Michael King

Three by Stephen Michael King
Published November 2019 Scholastic


One, two, three . . . Every day was a hop and a skip for Three. He was happy to walk from here to there, wherever his nose led, or wherever his legs took him . . . all the way to new friends.

I really don't have to write anything do I?  It's a new Stephen Michael King picture book. All I need to do is post the picture and I'm done...because we know that this is going to be a book that touches your heart.

This is the kind of book that makes me want to try and be a better person. Well maybe not a better person, but to be more thankful for all of the good things. As humans, living in the world, it is easy to focus on the things that aren’t going our way instead of being grateful for the things that are good. 

Three, so named, due to the fact that he only has three legs, is thankful for everything. In every illustration in this book Three is smiling. He has no home, he doesn’t always have food, but he is thankful for everything, even happy for others. He’s happy that the six legs had homes underground, far away from busy feet, and the eight legs have a home high above the traffic where they are safe. 

Three may only have three legs, but he’s Thankful he doesn’t have four legs, because if he had four legs he might be a chair, and people sit on chairs…Three’s legs take him wherever he wants to go…and he is thankful for that. 

Three’s three legs take him from the city, to the country... to Fern, and she had a home to share and room in her heart. Fern is thankful for Three.  Three is thankful for everything.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Rosa and the Daring Dog by Megan Rix

Rosa and the Daring Dog by Megan Rix
Published November 2019 Penguin UK

HOWLY is a tiny puppy, left abandoned in a trash can next to a school.
EDDIE is the young girl who finds him . . .
Eddie is immediately drawn to the puppy, whose bravery and determination remind her of a very famous person indeed.
Eddie's class are learning about Mrs Rosa Parks, whose act of courage on a bus in 1955 started a whole movement against racism in America. Mrs Parks herself soon visits Eddie's school, and when the great lady points out a stark reminder of racism in the school's own playground it's up to Eddie, her friends, and their new school dog Howly to remind everyone how to stay hopeful and stand up for what is right.

I had heard of Rosa Parks, and I kind of knew who she was and what she did, but this is the thing about children;s books, it has the ability to expand my universe.  Reading this 250 page children's novel gave me more insight into Rosa Parks, more context into which her story fits, and a new desire to find out more.  This is my first Megan Rix novel, but I am keen to read more, as she has a great way of incorporating historical facts into a story.

The story is set in 1990, in Detroit.  There is an authors note at the back of the book , where she explains why she set the book in this time period.  Rosa Parks is 77 years old, and she has lived through all kinds of segregation, because she is black...she also made a stand for what she believed in and has become known as the mother of the civil rights movement in the USA.  Through Rosa Parks and other characters in this book, we learn more about her story as well as the stories of Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jnr.   We learn about the Walk to Freedom March and the Children's March in Birmingham Alabama, where more than 600 children were arrested!

So, you may think, that's all good and well, but that's American history.  This is true...but America is still part of the world that we live in, and that's like saying we don't need to read about the Holocaust, because it's not Australian history.  Racism is a global issue, and as Australians we have our own history and current problems with racism.  I think a book like this is a great way to open discussions, and look at out own history with the segregation of Aboriginal Australians, the stolen Generation,  the White Australia Policy, and even our treatment of refugees. The importance of knowing and facing up to the not so pleasant parts of our history is surely the first step into it never happening again.

The other idea that this book brings up is the power of out voice, and how if enough people are willing to stand up and do the right thing, then change might actually happen.  So again it leads into contemporary issues like climate change, and Greta Thunberg, or the rights of girls and Malala.

On a completely different note...there's Howly, the puppy.  He represents a different change, a change in how we can support children in schools.  In 1990, the Reading Education Assistance Dog program was being trialed, and now it is now a successful way that schools are boosting literacy and reading levels with their students.  In Australia we have the Story Dogs organisation, where reading dogs are playing such an important role, in not only improving reading, but in many cases changing children's lives.  

If you're keen to look a bot further here's a few places to start:

 ISBN 9780241372791
ISBN 9781786030177
ISBN 9781445164038

Friday, November 15, 2019

Mind Blown by Dan Marshall

Mind Blown by Dan Marshall
Published November 2019 Bloomsbury

Delightful illustrations and beautiful design bring to life some of the hardest to believe and awesomely real facts you'll ever see. Prepare to have your mind blown -

Did you know space is only an hour's drive away? Did you know there is a jellyfish that is biologically immortal? Or that of all life that has ever existed on Earth, 99.9% of it is extinct? Dan Marshall's slick new book is packed to the brim with facts that will BLOW YOUR MIND.

This book did exactly what it says on the cover.  It blew my mind.  I love facts.  I can't say that I retain everything I read, but I love them.

This book is not a children's book (and I will get to why in a sec), but it almost could be, and for fact loving teens and adults it's a winner.

Simply designed, all in black and white, with text on one page and an accompanying illustration (in black and white) on the opposite page.  You can see some examples below.  The tone is light, the topics are broad, and there is humour in the writing.
But it's the

A few of my favourites:

  • When you shuffle a deck of cards, that exact order has never been seen before in the history of the universe.
  • There are more tigers living in Texas than anywhere else in the world.
  • If there was hole right through the Earth, it would take 42 minutes to go from one side to the other.
  • The world's nine richest men have more wealth than half the people on Earth.
  • Oxford University is older than Aztec civilisation.

I won't go into the science and reasons behind these facts, that's what the books for, but trust me it's all there.

Now you're asking, why isn't this book OK for kids?  Well it will be for plenty of you, it's just the one little fact on page 173:

  • Pigs' orgasms can last for up to 30 minutes.
Depending on the age of the child, that may bring up more questions than you were ready to answer.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Good Night, Little Bear - Little Golden Book Classic by Richard Scarry

Good Night, Little Bear - Little Golden Book Classic by Richard Scarry
Originally Published in 1961

It’s time for Little Bear to go to bed. But where can he be? Father Bear searches all over the house.

Has he forgotten that Little Bear’s been riding his shoulders the whole time? 

Little ones will enjoy being in on the joke as they look at Richard Scarry’s colorful pictures. 

Last week , for 'Throw Back Thursday', I had My Folks Grew up In the 80s'  This week is an actual trip back in time for me, this time back to the 1970s.

For someone whose adult life is all about kids books, I have very few memories of books as a young child.  The one vivid memory I do have, is going to the supermarket with my Nan, when I stayed with her in the holidays.  When we went to the supermarket, there was a wire spinner filled with books, Little Golden Books, and I got to choose one every week.

The one book Little Golden Book that has stayed with me is this one.  I even bought a copy a few years ago, simply for nostalgia's sake.  I still love books where the reader is fully aware of what's going on in the story, but one of the characters is Father Bear in this one....well he pretends to be oblivious anyway.

And...if I am completely honest, I think the one particular illustration that has stayed with me...for all of these years, is the chocolate fact every time I see a big piece of chocolate cake, it's this image that flashes in my mind.  Head over to my Instagram account to see the aforementioned page.

Next Thursday, another blast from my past.  One of my all time favourite novels...published in 1984.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Darkdeep by Brendan Reichs and Ally Condie

The Darkdeep by Brendan Reichs and Ally Condie
Published September 2018 Pan Macmillan


When a bullying incident sends twelve year-old Nico Holland over the edge of a cliff into the icy waters of Still Cove, where no one ever goes, friends Tyler and Ella – and even 'cool kid' Opal – rush to his rescue . . . only to discover an island hidden in the swirling mists below. Shrouded by dense trees and murky tides, the island appears uninhabited, although the kids can't quite shake the feeling that something about it is off. 

Their suspicions grow when they stumble upon an abandoned houseboat with an array of curiosities inside: odd-looking weapons, unnerving portraits, maps to places they've never heard of, and a glass jar containing something completely unidentifiable. 

As the group delves deeper into the unknown, their discoveries – and their lives – begin to intertwine in weird and spooky ways. Something ancient has awakened . . . and it knows their wishes and dreams - and their deepest secrets. Do they have what it takes to face the shadowy things that lurk within their own hearts? 

Told from Nico's and Opal's alternating points of view, The Darkdeep, from bestselling duo Ally Condie and Brendan Reichs, kicks off a suspenseful and spooky new series, perfect for fans of Stranger Things.

This would have to be, hands down, the most popular book I have talked about in schools this year.

When I do book talks at schools, as a way of the library doing their buying, I general take a 100+ books.  I pick out my favorites and talk about those ones, then the students have free reign (or whatever limits the library have put in place!), to browse all of the books and vote for what they want to read, and have in their library. At one school, I literally had a constant line up of students wanting to vote for The Darkdeep, and I have never in my 20+ year doing this have I seen that.  I do quite the spiel on it when I talk about it, complete with sound effects…so I am sure that helps.

The Darkdeep was on our shelves for 6 months before I even spotted it…which shocked me no end, as I think I know every book on the shelves!  As soon as I saw it I though 1) Why haven’t I read this? And 2) Kids will love this.  I think one of the tag lines is Stranger Things meets The Goonies.  It’s a perfect comparison and pretty funny in schools, because all of this kids at school 'oooh’ at the Stranger Things reference, and all of the adults react the same way to The Goonies.

I think there’s a big gap in children’s fiction, and YA to be honest, as far as Horror goes.  Now that so many libraries are genrefying their collections, this is one area where the gaps are showing.  This book is such a good choice for middle, and upper primary, as it’s creepy, and a bit scary, but not too scary.  

The setting is creepy, a fog covered island, and there’s mystery as to why there is a house in the middle of a lake (and that’s not solved in the first book), the fact that whatever the children fear most, manifests itself as a hologram, and then these holograms get more real and scarier.  It’s got a lot going for it as far as creepy goes.

It also has a lot of non scary things going for it too.  Themes of bullying, friendship and loyalty are strong, and the story is told from alternating characters’ points of view, which works well, as we get two perspectives on what’s happening.

The best news for anyone starting this series now, is that Book 2 has just been released, so no waiting to find out what happens next.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

White Bird by RJ Palacio

White Bird by RJ Palacio
October 2019 Penguin UK


A powerful, unforgettable graphic novel from the world of Wonder, by globally bestselling and award-winning author R. J. Palacio.

To the millions of readers who fell in love with R J Palacio's Wonder, Julian is best-known as Auggie Pullman's classroom bully. White Bird reveals a new side to Julian's story, as Julian discovers the moving and powerful tale of his grandmother, who was hidden from the Nazis as a young Jewish girl in occupied France during the Second World War.

An unforgettable, unputdownable story about strength, courage and the power of kindness to change hearts, build bridges, and even save lives, from the globally bestselling author of Wonder.

Graphic novels aren't often on my radar.  They are not often at the top of my reading pile.  There is one way however to make me add a graphic novel to the top of my pile, and that is to make it a Wonder story, that is written AND illustrated by RJ Palacio.  This is how White Bird made it into my hands.

For someone who says she doesn't read graphic novels...I read quite a lot of them.  This one is substantial, hardback and 224 pages.  I have come to realise that for me the graphic novels that I have loved are the ones that use the illustrations to give another, more impactful, dimension to the story.  

You may remember this story in Julian's chapter in Auggie and Me, but White Bird fills in more of the blanks for us. The story of Julian's Grandmother, Sara, who escaped capture and hides from the Nazis in occupied France during the Second World War, is not a unique story.  There have been a number of books about other children who survived the atrocities of that war, and they are stories that should be told, and told again.  

That's why I think writing this book as a graphic novel is the perfect way to tell this story.  As I said, the images add another dimension for me, and they make me stop and look, as well as read. 

War is never pretty, so this book isn't either.  For some readers it may be too much to see soldiers shooting a young man in the woods, with the text: 

Then they shot him.  His blood spilled out onto the snow.  The snowflakes covered his body like a blanket.

I didn't find the violence in this book, too much or too graphic, but it is something to keep in mind, when deciding where it might fit in a school library.

I think it would work really to look at this book in conjunction with Once by Morris Gleitzman or Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.  It could of course also be used with Wonder, because even though they are completely different stories, written in completely different formats, White Bird still has the resounding message of kindness at its heart.

To bring the story full circle, we see Julian at a peace protest, holding a placard with the words...
Never Again #weremember

*There are author’s notes in the back of the book, giving background to why she wrote this. There are also comprehensive historical notes, to give further background to aspects of the story

Monday, November 11, 2019

The End of Something Wonderful by Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic illustrated by Geroge Ermos

The End of Something Wonderful by Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic illustrated by Geroge Ermos
November 2019 Sterling Children's Books

Children love their pets very much — and when the animals die, that loss can be hard to process.

The End of Something Wonderful helps kids handle their feelings when they’re hurting and can’t find all the right words. In a warm, understanding, sometimes funny way, it guides children as they plan a backyard funeral to say goodbye, from choosing a box and a burial spot to giving a eulogy and wiping away tears. Most of all, it reassures them that it’s not the end of everything...and that Something Wonderful can always happen again.

This might not be quite what you're expecting with a book about dealing with the death of a beloved pet.  The subtitle is, 'A Practical Guide to a Backyard Funeral' after all...and that is what this book is.

It is quite matter of fact in it's tone, the first page starts with:
'First you need something dead, meaning something that was once alive but isn't any longer.'

Even though this book is maybe not quite as 'warm and fuzzy' as you would expect,  that doesn't mean that it takes the death of your pet lightly.  It talks about no matter what kind of funeral you have for your pet, your pet knows how much you miss them.  There's a great page with a boy and a pin up board, and on it are notes on everything from 'How Do You Feel? Confused Sad Lost' to 'Bury in fish bowl ? Maybe a bag?'.

The book looks at all of the practicalities of a pet burial, from what to put the pet in, where to dig the hole (or is it OK to flush a fish?) and what might happen at a funeral. There might be songs, there could be tears, and sometimes there might even be matter how you feel or react, that's OK.

It explains that you can talk about how much fun you had together, that you loved them, and that you miss them and being dead won't change that. That's it's OK to cry, that it's OK to not be ready to say goodbye.

I especially like the text on the last page, it's spot on about what a funeral is, whether it be a beloved pet or a human loved one.

Maybe you want to sit with your Something Dead and be quiet for a while.
Whatever you want to do is just fine.
Funerals come at the end of something wonderful.
Just remember: it's not the end of everything.
You can always have SOMETHING WONDERFUL again.

In short, if you're looking for a book that deals with the loss of a pet, I would recommend this one.  I would also recommend reading it first, making sure that the tone and style fit your child and your child's experiences.