'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Sunday 3 March 2019

Review: Saying Goodbye to Barkley

Devon Sillett, author of The Leaky Story and Scaredy Book, joins the highly talented Nicky Johnston for her third picture book, Saying Goodbye to Barkley. The theme centres on a child’s grief at the loss of a beloved pet and how she finds healing.

Olivia and Barkley are crime fighters together; rescuers, companions, playmates and friends; a part of one another. Olivia believed that they would be together forever. But all living things pass away. How can Olivia come to terms with the loss of all that Barkley was?

Olivia’s sadness is beyond words. Nothing makes her feel better, especially when mum says you have to get on with things eventually. This starts with small actions. A photo of her mate upon the wall and her warmest memories of him generate comfort and hope. She decides she also needs a plan if she is to restore her passion for crime fighting and rescuing living things in danger.

Time is needed for the heart to heal and new habits and friendships to form. Can Olivia’s plan work?

Johnston’s poignant illustrations and use of colour complement Sillett’s delicate text and capture the strong emotions that accompany loss, grief and healing.

Beautifully designed and presented, its stunning cover reflects the unconditional love shared by Olivia and Barkley. Gorgeous end pages reinforce the place the dog had in the child’s life.

This is a book that can be used as an approach to the emotional subject of loss and overcoming grief. It also calls attention to the importance of considering animal shelters when choosing a new or second pet for a child or family.

Title: Saying Goodbye to Barkley
Author: Devon Sillett
Illustrator: Nicky Johnston
Publisher: EK Books, $24.99
Publication Date: March 1 2019
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781925335965
For ages: 4+
Type: Picture Book