Corinne Demas, , illus. by Ard Hoyt. . Little, Brown, $15.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-316-70278-2

Predictable yet heart-rending, Demas's (The Disappearing Island ) tale opens as the young narrator explains what happens as her dog gets "really" old: Lulu doesn't climb stairs and her sight fails. The child carries her pet out to the grass when she can no longer walk and, as the dog's condition deteriorates, the child covers a sleeping Lulu with a sweater ("the one she always pulled off my chair and curled up with when I wasn't home") and lays down beside her, stroking her back and telling her that she loves her ("But she already knew that"). In a scene that seems compulsory in books on this theme, the girl's father reassures her that they will get another dog "after Lulu," and the child insists she doesn't want another dog but wants "Lulu back, the way she used to be." The mother's insightful observation that the dying pet is now much like she was as a newborn, when her eyes were not yet open and she slept all the time provides some comfort. Though they'll know what is coming, readers will surely be affected by the author's spare, sad description of Lulu's death and burial, the girl's grieving—and her expected change of heart about acquiring another pet. Rendered in watercolor, colored pencil and pen-and-ink and featuring a pastel-dominated palette, Hoyt's (I'm a Manatee ) lively, homespun art nimbly conveys the range of emotions that run through this comforting story. Ages 4-8. (June)