When you can judge a book by its cover, that is not always a bad thing. I had a feeling that Where Lily Isn’t was not going to be a happy book. And it is not a happy book. But it is also not as sad of a book as I had thought it might be.
Julie Paschiks has created a sweet, but not overly sappy, story about the loss of a beloved pet. It is a simple (but not simplistic) and a straightforward story. The child narrator of this tale tells us all the things Lily (her special friend/pet) used to do; but now does not. She used to bark, jump, love, hug, snuggle and so much more (I enjoyed that when the girl ate Lily would bump the girls feet). The fact you never hear Lily died is a nice touch. You can then adapt the story (perhaps your Lily ran away) but of course, it is a good introduction to the younger child about death. The part that makes this not completely sad is that it mentioned you can be sad, but you know that your pet lives on in your heart. There is hope.
The fun illustrations of Margaret Chodos-Irvine also are an addition to the more “upbeat” attitude throughout the story. They are muted but have strong colors. The lines ae soft, but “hold the image” together. This is a nice book. It is odd to say a book about death/the loss of a pet is “nice”, but it is. There is just a coziness to it that gives the situation a less dismal outlook.