THE LONGEST LETSGOBOY by Derick Wilder, illustrated by Catia Chien — Book Recommendation

Title: THE LONGEST LETSGOBOY

Author: Derick Wilder

Illustrator: Catia Chien

Publisher: San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books, October 2021

Genre: Picture book

Audience Age: 3 to 8 years

Themes/Topics: dogs, dying, love, pets, hope

Opening Sentences: 

Mewmew wakes me, rumbledrumming my tummy.

I strrrrretch my oldbones.

Synopsis: This lovely, moving, heartfelt story tells of a much-loved old dog’s last day, from the dog’s perspective. The author, Derick Wilder, uses created words and phrases to enhance the feeling that this truly is the dog telling his story. The dog’s foreverfriend, Little, “holds out a tastytreat, letting me know I’m a gooddog, oh yes I am.”

When they go on a letsgoboy (a walk), he feels like an awwwpuppy again, but soon his oldbones tell him that he needs to pull back his pace. He slowly sniffs his way through the forest, saying goodbye to all the places, animals, smells, and sights that he has experienced with Little all his life. The reader can tell that he knows that the end of this wonderful life is near, but even so, there is hope that all will be well. The reader is not left desolate. The ending (which I will not give away) leaves you smiling through your tears.

And yes, there will be tears. Make sure you have tissues handy, and if you’re planning to read the book to your own Little or Littles, you might want to read it alone first. But please do read it with your Littles. It is such an amazing depiction of a pet’s love for his Little, and a Little’s love for her pet, that it must be shared. And the hope at the end is something that needs to be experienced.

Derick Wilder has written a winner. It will burrow its way into many hearts, bring back memories of awwwpuppies and mewmews of the past, inspire many joyful letsgoboys with goodboys and goodgirls, and leave wistful smiles on many faces.

Catia Chien’s soft smudgedreams of illustrations are perfect for this book.

I highly recommend it.

For Further Enrichment: 

About the author: Derick Wilder has been a technology consultant, has volunteered at wildlife sanctuaries, and is an educator and the founder of several programs to enhance kids’ lives. THE LONGEST LETSGOBOY is his debut picture book, with two more picture books on the horizon – both very different from his debut. He is obviously versatile! You can read more about him, his books, and his initiatives on his website.

About the illustrator: Catia Chien has illustrated several picture books, comics and other pieces. Her work shows her versatility and her heart. A video on PBS News Hour’s “Brief But Spectacular” will take you into her world. You can see her work at her website.

Activities: This would be an excellent book to introduce a conversation (or conversations) about death and dying. It also lends itself to conversations about caring for aging pets – and by extrapolation, aging loved ones. The publisher’s website lists other conversations that this book could facilitate.

Availability: Keeping in mind the current supply chain issues in the world, this book should be fairly readily available, although you might have to be patient. It is worth the wait. Check with your local (or online) independent bookseller.

15 Comments

  1. This sounds like an amazing book. Not sure I could read it without crying.

    1. I certainly can’t read it without crying, but they’re good tears, and I totally love this book, and recommend reading it despite the tears.

  2. Great review, Beth. You know how I love this book!

    1. Thanks, Kathy, and thanks for sharing the review! I love this book so much!

  3. I know I am going to love this book. Just from the way Derrick writes the dog’s perspective … (I am a gooddog, yes I am).

    1. Yes, you are going to love this book. Derick’s word choice is so perfect — the voice of the dog comes through crystal clear.

  4. LOVE LOVE LOVE this book, Beth! Thank you for sharing it! Such a treasure for any child coping with this situation.

    1. You are welcome. I love it so much, too.

  5. Derick really, truly wrote a beautiful book! And I would read anything illustrated by Catia Chien!

  6. I’m already crying, and I haven’t cracked the book yet. I know my son and husband will cry as well. But I can’t wait to read it!

  7. That title encapsulates so much. I know I will love this.

  8. I heard this book referenced in a webinar, but hadn’t gotten it from the library, yet. Thank you for a great I am excited to read it.

  9. So good to see you! And, of course I love the beautiful grief book you shared. It would pair with a book I first reviewed for PPBF many years ago about a cat’s last day.

    Keep meaning to write you — forgot the name of Bev’s book. Forgot to bookmark it.

  10. I hope to read this one soon, once I get enough courage & tissues, as I know this dog-mom will be in tears!

  11. Sounds great! Thanks for sharing.

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