Best Friends Forever: A Puppy’s Tale
Portia Y. Clare (author) Lisa Alderson (illustrator)
Miriam Laundry Publishing Company (2021)
Reviewed by Lily Andrews for Reader Views Kids (04/2022)
“Best Friends Forever: A Puppy’s Tale” by Portia Y. Clare is a gentle picture book that follows a little girl, Scoopie, whose parents decide to get her a puppy on her fourth birthday. Scoopie is elated as they travel to get the newest member of the family and has all sorts of questions and imaginations about her. Sandy Clare, the name the little girl gave to the puppy, was playful and became her daily companion. They played all sorts of games together and gradually became inseparable.
Scoopie’s little world of happiness is soon upended when the little puppy develops continuous complications and the aftermath is devastating for her. However, this charming gem wraps up in a joyous and hopeful ending that takes young readers through the seasons of loss and healing.
Portia Y. Clare successfully explores the life cycle of every living thing, whether it’s a family member, a friend or a pet, and children will inevitably learn that death is an inescapable part of life, giving them space to traverse those feelings and emotions and find closure. Further, the text explores how we honor and celebrate those that have left us.
I appreciated the author’s ability to deliver complex themes of love, loss, and healing wrapped in a soothing way. Also, the bond between Scoopie and her playful puppy is genuinely heartwarming. The poignant, heartfelt story connects the past, present, and future beautifully through memories prompting reflection. Whether it is a readout story in a classroom setting or a bingeable read when tucked under the covers, “Best Friends Forever: A Puppy’s Tale” will capture any child’s attention.
The flip-flap elements and lovingly illustrated artwork by Lisa Alderson are hugely efficacious and engaging. For this reason, I give this short text 5 stars. Children’s relationships with their pets are special and no picture book will more sublimely convey that message to them than this story.
“Best Friends Forever: A Puppy’s Tale” by Portia Y. Clare is sure to be a steadfast favorite for children. It is a great launch pad for talking about emotions in a way that a young child can relate to and understand.