In this gentle, moving story, Elfie, a dachshund, and her special boy progress happily through life together. When she is young, Elfie is full of pep and pranks; but as her master grows taller and taller, Elfie grows fatter and slower. One morning Elfie does not wake up. The family grieves and buries her, and the boy refuses a new puppy. He is not yet ready for another pet; but when he is, he will tell that one, as he told Elsie every night, "I'll always love you." The watercolor illustrations, tender and warm in color and mood and cozily rounded in form, suit the simple text perfectly. Elsie's gradual change from a lively mischief-maker to a portly old dog is treated with a sweet humor. Viorst's The Tenth Good Thing About Barney (Atheneum, 1971) and Cohen's Jim's Dog Muffins (Greenwillow, 1984) also treat the loss of a beloved pet with great understanding, but anyone who has or ever had an old dog in the family will be especially touched by this book. Pat Pearl, First Presbyterian Church Library, Martinsville, Va.
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