Lynne Barasch Old Friends

ISBN 13: 9780374356118

Old Friends

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9780374356118: Old Friends
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In a lighthearted picture book about aging and long-lasting friendships, Henrietta meets a little dog who reminds her of Anna, her best friend from childhood, whom she misses very much.

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From Publishers Weekly:

Reincarnation gives the theme of friendship a puzzling spin in Barasch's (Rodney's Inside Story) tale about Henrietta, an old woman who has outlived all her peers, including Anna, her best friend since childhood. One day Henrietta encounters a small white dog and senses it is speaking to her. That night she dreams that she and Anna are youngsters playing with a china dog that resembles this one. Henrietta then "knew the dog was Anna," and the two "found in each other the little girls they had been so long ago." The pair begins daily walks, but Henrietta grows increasingly fatigued. Soon the old woman has yet another dream in which a new china dog (this one black) appears. Here the perspective suddenly shifts from Henrietta to the dogwalker, wondering why Henrietta has ceased her daily walks: "She was never to know." After a while a black dog (the one from the dream) emerges from Henrietta's house and seems to know the white dog, "almost as if they were old friends." Adults may make the connection that Henrietta has died and come back as the black dog, but this is a stretch for the picture book crowd. Spare and sketchy watercolors fail to add much-needed life to this insipid story which, especially for children who have lost a loved one, may provoke more unsettling questions than it answers. Ages 5-up.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Barasch (A Winter Walk, 1993, etc.) introduces the notion of reincarnation and demonstrates that friendship reaches beyond death, offering a comforting idea of what the afterlife may hold. Henrietta has outlived all her friends, and dearly misses her best friend since childhood, Anna. One day, she hears someone ask ``Henrietta, don't you know me?'' and it proves to be Anna, embodied in a furball of a Scottish terrier, out for a walk. Their daily walks together conjure up pleasant memories from the past, until one day, Henrietta does not arrive to walk Anna. A new dog appears on the scene, becoming fast friends with Anna, and leaving no doubt as to its true identity. Pen-and-ink drawings with a pale watercolor wash reflect the modesty of the text, though its emotions run deep and true. Literal-minded readers may have trouble with the more esoteric notion of returning after death in the form of an animal; in its tone and subject, this book is a kindred spirit to Margaret Wild's Old Pig, and may also require further explanation from caring adults. (Picture book. 5-8) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Lynne Barasch
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