The Heaven of Animals

Nancy Tillman. Feiwel and Friends, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-312-55369-2
What happens to our beloved animals after they die? “Sometimes I think that they already know,/ all of the animals... just where they’ll go,” writes Tillman (I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love). In her signature style, manipulating and softening photographs with painterly effects, she shows a black-and-white border collie gazing off into the distance as a matching black-and-white cat looks on and a butterfly hovers under fluffy white clouds. A winged child in a T-shirt and jeans tosses a flying disc across a sandy beach to a Dalmatian: “When dogs get to heaven/ they’re welcomed by name,/ and angels know every dog’s/ favorite game.” Wide expanses of space where animals can roam untethered, never-ending supplies of food (“as soon as they nibble,/ grass grows itself back”), and peace between species that are predator and prey on Earth are all part of the magic. Tillman has an uncanny knack for providing images of pure pleasure; perhaps because of its weightier theme, this is a particularly affecting addition to her library of titles. Ages 4–8. Agent: Cathy Hemming, Cathy Hemming Literary Agency. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/30/2014
Release date: 09/02/2014
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