I received a copy of Morgan J. Muir’s Paw Prints through NetGalley for review purposes; all opinions expressed in this review are my own honest thoughts.
Written by Morgan J. Muir
Illustrated by Sava Andreea
Publication Date: August 2019
Genre: Poetry, Graphic Novel
“They say that pets will leave paw prints on my heart. But I don’t think I believe them.”
Paw Prints is a poignant, illustrated story of grief and loss. With full color illustrations on each page, it follows a woman’s contemplation on the loss of her young dog as she takes one last walk through their morning routine.
This little book is a quick read, but it’s bound to stay with you—I know it hasn’t left my thoughts since I put it down. Both the illustrations and the words are hauntingly beautiful. The text is limited, yet it brings so much additional imagery—you wouldn’t think it necessary for an illustrated poem, yet it makes such an amazing addition.
This poem is one of the most poignant I’ve had the good fortune to read. I’ve read it thrice now, and it’s just as powerful with each subsequent reading. Perhaps this is in part because I’m such an aminal lover myself. The emotions behind these words and images, though, is undeniable—it tugs at the heartstrings and truly leaves its paw prints on your heart.
Clearly I didn’t know the dog behind this poem (and, being fiction, no one’s had that opportunity), I feel as though I did. On the one hand, the images, both literal and through the text, brought him to life. On the other, every reader has known that dog, in some way. That dog stands in for every pet you’ve ever lost—your own or one you’ve felt close to—and you inherently know the speaker’s pain.
After each read, I’m compelled to give each of my pets an extra hug, and to take a few extra moments to appreciate them. This gratitude mixes with the speakers grief, proving just how powerful one little poem (and its accompanying illustrations) can be.