Rainbow Bridge by Steve Orlando & Steve Foxe, illustrated by Valentina Brancati. Seismic Press, 2021. 9781949028676
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
Format: Graphic novel
What did you like about the book? I really liked this foray into the beyond, over the “rainbow bridge,” where pets go when they die. In this case, Andy’s beloved dog Rocket is in the “forever fields.” Apparently Rocket has unfinished business, which Andy finds out when he accidentally enters this magical realm while mourning Rocket at his grave. So, as long as he’s there, Andy searches for Rocket, accompanied by other pets he has known. But the whole community of animals is threatened by the presence of evil wraiths, which are pets who are stuck in limbo with unfinished business. Andy is tortured by the idea that Rocket could be stuck because he, Andy, was too heartbroken to be present when the family had to put Rocket down. Could Rocket be on the road to becoming a wraith? These questions spur Andy to find his beloved pet and achieve closure.
I loved the concept of a happy afterlife for pets, and the book achieves this with humor and a believable explanation. Andy, a rising 9th grader who just can’t move on after Rocket’s death, is a boy with strong emotions that he shares with his family. The reason behind his adventure beyond the rainbow bridge is love for his pet, which lots of readers will find relatable. It’s a great combination of an emotional journey and a rousing fast paced adventure. The evil wraiths are defeated, but not vanquished, so there’s definitely room for further adventures.
Anything you didn’t like about it? No
To whom would you recommend this book? For middle grade or teen readers who enjoy animal fantasy.
Who should buy this book? Elementary and middle school and public libraries
Where would you shelve it ? Graphic novels
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Near the top
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: September 29, 2021