My Old Pal, Oscar

illus. by Amy Bates. 32p. Abrams. May 2016. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781419719011.
PreS-Gr 1—A towheaded boy in a slicker roams the beach and finds himself being shadowed by a black-and-white stray puppy. The endearing canine is gently rejected despite its "soft puppy beard" and "big black eyes" because the boy still mourns his recently deceased dog, Oscar. "I'll never stop being sad," the child promises. However, a thunderstorm means the boy can't resist cradling the pup in his arm and running home to safety, where he shows the yet-to-be-named pal a picture of the title character. Bates employs watercolors irresistibly to capture both rainy beach and captivating puppy. Hest's pacing reflects the growing friendship.
VERDICT The creative pair behind The Dog Who Belonged to No One now share a welcome twist on bibliotherapy following the death of a beloved pet.

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