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Death of a Pet or Animal

Brown, M.W. The Dead Bird. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1965. (PS/SA)

This classic tells the story about a group of children who find a dead bird in the park and decide to have a burial and funeral. Each day they return to the grave with f lowers. They continue until they forget.

Carrick, C. The Accident. New York: Seabury, 1976. (SA)

A boy witnesses the death of his pet dog that is run over by a truck. He struggles with his own sense of responsibility for what happened, becomes angry, and then withdraws until his father finds him a suitable gravestone.

Cohen, M. Jim’s Dog Muffin. New York: Dell Publishing, 1984. (PS)

After his dog is killed, Jim demonstrates anger and sadness. Friends rally to support Jim in this simple story of the need to grieve.

Fox, M. Tough Boris. New York: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1994. (PS)

Boris von der Borch is a tough and fearless pirate. But when his parrot dies, he cries and cries. This simple, brightly illustrated book provides excellent reinforcement of the acceptability of expressing feelings, especially for boys who learn at a very early age that it’s not ok to cry.

Hemery, K. Not Just a Fish. Omaha, NE: Centering Corporation, 2000. (SA)

A story of a girl whose pet fish dies. The loss is not recognized for being as significant as it feels to the child. An aunt helps the situation and the girl by arranging a backyard memorial service for the fish.

Hill, F. The Bug Cemetery. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 2002. (PS/SA)

When a boy finds a dead ladybug, he and his sister bury it and hold a pretend funeral. Funerals and burials for bugs become fun and popular in the neighborhood, but when the boy's cat is killed, the funeral is real and sad. A unique story that is funny, sad, and hopeful.

Sanford, D.It Must Hurt A Lot: A Child’s Book About Death. Portland, OR: Multnaomah Press, 1986. (PS/SA)

Describes a boy’s reactions of anger, grief and eventual acceptance when his dog dies. Includes suggestions to parents for helping a child deal with loss.

Viorst, J. The Tenth Good Thing About Barney. New York: Atheneum, 1971. (PS/SA)

When Barney, a pet cat, dies his master decides to have a funeral for him. The little boy tries to think of ten good things to say about Barney, but can only think of nine. Finally his father helps him with a tenth. The book is gentle and positive.

Wilhelm, H. I’ll Always Love You. New York: Crown, 1985. (PS)

This warmly illustrated picture book sensitively portrays the close relationship between a boy and his dog. As the years go by and the young narrator grows taller, his beloved companion, Elfie, grows rounder and slower. And then, one night, Elfie dies in her sleep. Grief –stricken, the boy takes comfort in the fact that every night he told Elfie, “I’ll Always Love You.”

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