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Sammy in the Sky Hardcover – August 9, 2011
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—School Library Journal (starred review)
Warm, emotional tale, replete with comfort and acceptance, this secular selection is a strong choice for a child dealing with death for the first time.
About the Author
Jamie Wyeth is an internationally known painter, illustrator, and dog lover. When he was a boy he endlessly sketched his family dog and has continued to portray animals in his work throughout his life. He has illustrated two previous picture books, THE STRAY and CABBAGES AND KINGS. Jamie Wyeth, son of painter Andrew Wyeth and grandson of illustrator N. C. Wyeth, splits his time between Maine and Pennsylvania.
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More About the Author
A few words about Barbara's background:
Like many writers, I was a shy kid. My mother claims I never spoke a word until high school. I preferred writing to talking. I penned poetry and 12-page letters to my relatives (who thought I had way too much time on my hands). I wrote Stephen King-like stories about my sister's stuffed animals coming to life -- stories that made them think I was deranged.
Regardless of my sisters' opinions, my high school teachers suggested I pursue a journalism degree. Several years later on my first daily newspaper job, I was assigned a story that would change my life and career.
I was 27 and a rookie at the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune when I began investigating prison escapee Willlie Horton Jr. and Massachusetts' flawed furlough program.
Horton was a first-degree killer who escaped while out on a weekend pass from Walpole, Massachusetts' top security prison. It turned out that many killers and rapists were getting furloughed on the weekend -- unsupervised. Ultimately, the investigation into the prison program changed lives, laws, affected the 1988 presidential election and earned our newspaper a Pulitzer Prize.
The Horton story also taught me that journalists have tremendous power and responsibility to inform, to tell stories that need to be told.
Like the stories I reported during my journalism career, my two books ─ Sammy in the Sky and August Gale: A Father and Daughter's Journey into the Storm ─ are true and they are stories that I was compelled to write.
When I am not agonizing over words or deadlines, I can be found by the water, swimming, kayaking or just staring at the blue-green waves.
Top Customer Reviews
Your are instantly captured by Sammy's eyes in the illustration on the first page as the girl tells us why Sammy is "the best hound dog in the whole world". Then, as we transition into his illness, we discover just how important Sammy is as a member of their family. Everyone is affected by his illness and his loss. But, out of the grief comes an understanding that his most important contribution was his love and the memories that they shared. Those remain forever!
Every reader will likely shed a tear for Sammy. It is a book that can both teach and sustain family stories of other beloved pets. It is a story that feels authentic and will ring true to anyone who has counted their pet as a "family member".
The illustrations by Jamie Wyeth raise the story telling in this book. These illustrations are of the level found in an "art book" but are such a great match with the story they support it rather than compete with it. Overall, just a truly wonderful story for anyone who has loved a pet at some time during their life.
This story is as important as "Bridge to Terabithia" in dealing with the subject of death but covers a much wider age range. It can be read and understood by an early reader on their own or read by an adult to help them understand (or prepare for) the loss of a beloved pet. It is a book that any parent or grandparent should have in their arsenal of great books to help in the raising of a child. I fully expect that it will be nominated for a Newbery and/or Caldecott award.
A surprising amount of text on each page for a picture book. Big, beautiful paintings on every page.
"'Can't Sammy come back?' I asked Daddy. `Just for a little while?'
Daddy shook his head. `You'll have to remember him in your heart,' he said."
Bought this book after reading Barbara Walsh's great family memoir, "August Gale."
The prose, too, is simple and effective. It doesn't suggest much action except that of the heart. Then what the family does to celebrate the joy that his dog brought to their lives is priceless and tender.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book really helped my daughter when we had to say good bye to our fur baby.Published 1 month ago by Sara
Good illustrations. I gave it to someone who lost his dog that looked like Sammy.Published 17 months ago by buyer
I thought that Sammy in the Sky was a sensitively written account to read to children who are about to or have already lost a pet. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Pamela Tiernan
Beautifully illustrated, heartfelt story of the love and loss of a pet dog. Both young children and adults can relate to it. I had a hard time reading it without tearing up.Published 22 months ago by Shorty
I purchased this so my grandchildren might be partialy prepared when their thirteen year old aging dog would pass away. Read morePublished on December 30, 2011 by Anton Jorgensen