4 out of 4 stars
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This Side of the Bridge by David D. Michael is an illustrated story about his dog, King Kane. The story is inspired by poems and essays from Norse mythology and Native American folklore which describe a beautiful supernatural place where the souls of deceased pets go to wait for their human counterparts. The author writes from the perspective of his wise old dog, King Kane who arrives in this wonderful place. Here, all of his sore joints and paws are healed. He finds that he can run and jump as he used to when he was younger. The only problem is that King Kane misses his siblings and his human master. He makes new friends in this new land, but he waits for the day when he will be reunited with his family. Then, together they will continue on their journey to Heaven.
At some time in our lives, every pet owner wonders where their pets’ souls go after they die. This is an insightful story that depicts the afterlife in a remarkable way. Although pets physically leave us after they die, according to this tale, they will be waiting to escort us to Heaven. When I think of my own death to come in the future, I am comforted knowing that I will not be alone. I will have animal friends to walk beside me. This aspect of the book is what I liked most because I found it to be extremely reassuring.
I also like that the book is written from the perspective of a dog. Because of King Kane, I contemplated how my dog sees the world, what he must think about in his mind, and how he must feel. Currently, my dog, Lion is very old. He gets arthritis when it’s cold and he has a cough. Just the thought of knowing that his soul may go to a healing meadow to wait for me is consoling. When King Kane described his ‘grey-peppered mask’, I immediately associated his character to Lion because my dog's black fur has little grey splotches now. I can confidently say that this book is very relatable.
The illustrations in this book really complement the story. Each large, colored picture in the book takes up an entire page. It is a joy to look at them and see the beautiful world that the author described. The illustrator, Ayin Visitacion, also captures the expressions of the dogs quite realistically. The style is more realistic than animated. This perfectly suits the story because the overall mood of the book is quite somber.
I have no complaints when it comes to this book. It offers an insightful outlook into the concept of ‘pet heaven’ which readers will find to be reassuring and relatable. This inspirational and moving story also fosters healthy contemplation about the pets in our lives. Moreover, it was edited fully as I did not find a single error. I rate it 4 out of 4 stars. This is the perfect book for animal lovers of all ages. It can provide both children and adults with explanations about where pets go after they die. I think this book will make a lovely gift for someone who has just lost their dog. However, readers who have never experienced the joy of owning a pet may not be able to relate to this story so I wouldn’t recommend it to them.
This Side of the Bridge
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