Stay: A Girl, a Dog, a Bucket List by Kate Klise and illustrated by M. Sarah Klise
This is a touching, bittersweet picture book about love. When Astrid was born, Eli the dog was waiting for her when she came home from the hospital. They became best friends and constant companions. But as Astrid grew up, Eli grew old. When Astrid realizes Eli is getting older, she makes a list for him of things he should do before he gets too old to do them. These include going on a bike ride, going to see a movie, sleeping under the stars, and taking a bubble bath. There is nothing like the love between a child and a dog and this book beautifully portrays that love.
It also beautifully depicts the loyalty of dogs and their love for their people. Eli goes along with Astrid’s list and enjoys his new experiences, but really the one and only thing on his list is being with Astrid.
For sensitive children, Eli does not die at the end of the book – the last spread of the book is Astrid and Eli sitting on a hill watching the sunset in perfect happiness.