School is out for the summer. Normally, Danny would be excited to be spending the summer with his best friend, Ryan. But this year is different. Sadly, Danny has just lost his beloved dog, Nicky.
When Ryan asks him for a favor while on the bus ride home, Danny is unsure of what to do. But as he is about to discover, sometimes the most difficult favors are the ones that help us the most.
Pacific Book Review
This is the story about a boy named Danny who had his best friend, Nicky, a Golden Retriever, grow old and die. Yes, as all dog owners know the loss of a pet is one of the saddest things to happen in life. In many ways, Danny was saddened and simply overwhelmed with his thinking about Nicky, wondering as the book title suggests, Where Did Nicky Go?
Author Lucy Geddes has written a very lovely and important story which all children living with a dog, or even another loved pet, will benefit from the experience Danny went through. She teaches a lesson of kindness and hope, along with allowing the time for Danny to come to grips with the loss of his best friend. Illustrations by Schenker De Leon adds the perfect visual layer of the messaging for this story allowing readers to see Danny and how the loss of Nicky played upon his emotions. Together, this is a somber story, yet realistic about the lesson of having to put thoughts in the past – even seeing how hard it was for Danny to understand.
All hope isn’t lost, as Danny is asked to temporarily take care of a friend’s puppy named Toby while that puppy’s family is out of town, and Danny agrees. As Danny reads his sci-fi book, Toby gets into trouble, and actually eats some chocolate out of Danny’s jeans pocket, then goes downstairs and turns over the garbage in the kitchen and makes a mess. Danny is told by his parents that Toby is only a puppy and needs to be watched more closely. Then something special happens.
Danny is at the beach with his Mom and sees a pattern in the clouds of a dog and a smaller dog. Danny believes this was a message from Nicky to Danny that he is alright, and as the clouds dissipate their image, Danny is comforted in knowing Nicky is in dog heaven. The story ends with a real-life photograph of the family with their smiling Nicky, and as the book closes, readers will feel the healing process of getting over the loss of a loved dog in their lives; a very important message to all dog owners.
Lucy Geddes has written a valuable theme in a very gentle and loving book for young children to learn from in Where Did Nicky Go? She answers the book title’s question with providing comfort and hope. This is a very important book for all families with a dog because someday, every child will feel the same emotions that Danny went through, and ultimately know their pet moved on to a good place. Highly recommend for any age, even if no loss, separation, or major change in their life has occurred.
The US Review Of Books
Book Review by Toby Berry
“Why didn’t Nicky get better like he usually did?”
This story confronts the death of a pet. The main character, Danny, loses his beloved dog, Nicky. The author gently writes exactly what needs to be said, helping parents guide their children through it, and helping rally any child facing that situation. In Danny’s case, his dog dies right before the summer break, so he has plenty of time to feel the hole in his normal summer vacation. But then his friend asks him to dog sit his puppy. Danny stumbles, not wanting to replace one dog with another so fast. When he realizes that he needs to step up and help his friend by agreeing to keep the dog, he still struggles to rebound enough to give the puppy the attention he needs and deserves. In this story, Danny’s parents guide and encourage him, rather than mandate his responses and decide for Danny when he is ready to recover from his grief.
Although the subject is depressing, it is true that adults sometimes find themselves fighting to maintain their child’s rainbows amidst thunderclouds. This book helps parents wade the waters of childhood disappointment. No one can protect their children from loss, but their loved ones can learn to help them with resilience. The book is best for parents and children to read together because It touches on religious beliefs and Heaven. Danny’s mother says, “I believe Nicky’s happy too. God wants us all to be happy.” The illustrations are precious. Sad Danny, lying on his bed with his red cheeks, is both adorable and sympathy-provoking. In fact, all of the facial expressions make these illustrations special and exemplary. While probably children from kindergarten through fifth grade and their parents who are going through the loss of a pet will appreciate this book the most, it is truly touching for anyone.