Title: Goodbye Hobbs
Author: Emma Bettridge
Illustrator: Josephine Birch
Publisher: Graffeg
Genre: Children’s picture book
Book format: Paperback
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Description:  Merlin won’t go out.  Not without his best friend Hobbs.  Join Merlin as he goes on an adventure to learn how to say ‘Goodbye Hobbs’.
A story of what it means to love and lose a friend, and to find reasons to go for a walk again.

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review:  Oh, what a beautiful story with a lovely message for children who may have lost a loved one. Merlin’s owner is calling him to come for a walk, but Merlin doesn’t want to, not today, not without his best friend Hobbs. Eventually Merlin goes for a walk, on the usual route, but while walking through the rain and countryside, Merlin suddenly sniffs something familiar…Hobbs! This paperback picture book is around A4 in size and is filled with thick matt pages of some lovely illustrations and text.

Goodbye Hobbs book page image one
©The Strawberry Post

This really is a beautiful story with Merln soon sniffing out a message left for him on a tree by Hobbs. As Merlin sniffs the message he soon spots more and starts running around desperate to hear what messages Hobbs has left for him. This book does a good job of giving a wonderful message to children about how to deal with the loss of a loved one. Merlin’s listlessness at the beginning, and the depressing rain when he goes walking all show how affected he is by Hobbs not being there any more. As the story moves on you end up seeing Merlin perk up as he sniffs out messages left on different trees by Hobbs, the messages all reassuring Merlin that it’s ok that he (Hobbs) is gone and that Merlin will be ok.

Goodbye Hobbs book page image two
©The Strawberry Post

I couldn’t help but find myself tearing up when reading this. The reality of losing a loved one, a friend, family member and even a pet is so difficult and it can be so hard for children to deal with and understand what to do once they have lost that special someone in their lives. This picture book, Hobbs’s messages to Merlin, are so perfect in reassuring children and I just love how beautifully this is done and how lovely all of the illustrations are.

The pictures really help make the story so much better. I love the way Merlin looks, how clearly you can see the expressions on the dog’s face and the way the world around him looks, especially the rain at the start. I love what happens at the end of the story too, that last scene and how it transforms into such a beautiful image at night that made me and my family tear up reading this!

Goodbye Hobbs book page image three
©The Strawberry Post

Overall this is a wonderfully illustrated and lovely story about loss and especially the loss of a beloved pet. Poor Merlin is so lost at the start but I love the messages at the end of the story, and how it reassures children that it’s ok to be happy again and it’s just such a lovely picture book that I know would help many children facing loss, and this is a book I’m sure kids and adults will enjoy looking at again and again.

What do you think of this book?  Have you ever faced the loss of a loved one or pet?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂