Books Loss, Heartbreak, and Coming of Age Picture Books Read-a-Latte Reading Themes

Of Dogs, Children, and the Grief that Divides Them in Hans Wilhelm’s I’ll Always Love You


In photo: Tank, my friend's daughter's dog.
In photo: Tank, my friend’s daughter’s dog.

“If you have a dog, you will most likely outlive it;
to get a dog is to open yourself to profound joy and, prospectively,
to equally profound sadness.”

— Marjorie Garber

I’ll Always Love You994846_10151662263568700_1212123603_n

Words and pictures by: Hans Wilhelm
Published by: Crown Publishers, Inc.
Book photo borrowed from the library.
All photos taken and edited by me. 

Hello. Fats here.

Hans Wilhelm’s I’ll Always Love you is one of the sweetest picture books I’ve read. It revolves around a young boy’s relationship with his dog, Elfie. The story begins when both were still young and follows the two in their growing years.

As much as I love dogs, I’m not a big fan of stories that involve dogs dying. I’ve had four dogs since I was eight years old, and all of them died one tragic way or another. My last dog was a black Labrador named Artemis that died one stormy early morning in the Philippines. It was the only time I’ve cried for a pet. My heart mourned for her death but I think it was more heartbreaking for my mother who had to deliver the bad news over the phone, thousands of miles away.

My favorite spread in the book.
My favorite spread in the book.

In this picture book, however, Hans Wilhelm brilliantly handles a sensitive topic and delivers it with ease as he shows children – through Elfie and her human child – that death is a natural process. It shows that death is inevitable, and it doesn’t always end in a tragic way. As Haruki Murakami so eloquently puts it,

“Death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it.”

Hans Wilhelm’s I’ll Always Love You is a celebration of life and declaration of love as much as it is a portrayal of death. It delivers the beautiful message of telling people – and pets! – that we love them while we still can. It’s a message we are all familiar with yet still manage to overlook and take for granted.  I realized that my pet needs that kind of attention and care, they are so deserving. After I read that book, I’ve been more and more cognizant of the ways in which I can improve their lives and in turn it has improved mine.

And this completes our goal of 150 for the 2013 Read-a-Latte Challenge!!! Woohoo!!!
We are only in July. We have five more months to fill with books, books, and more books!!! Huzzah!!!


Read-a-Latte Challenge Update: 150 of 150

1 comment on “Of Dogs, Children, and the Grief that Divides Them in Hans Wilhelm’s I’ll Always Love You

  1. Thanks for telling about this, Fats. It looks like a wonderful book to add to our school library’s collection.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: