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The Beloved Dearly

Review

The Beloved Dearly

written by Doug Cooney, illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi

Ernie can always think of a way to make money. Most of the ideas he dreams up get him interviews with the school principal, however. Or serious ultimatums from his father, like the latest one --- any more get-rich-quick schemes and Ernie will be grounded. This is a threat Ernie takes seriously. So he keeps his father in the dark about his newest entrepreneurial endeavor.

The idea for it comes when Ernie finds out that his father had to pay somebody for the funeral when Ernie's mother died. People get paid for that? Must mean a legitimate business opportunity. Then, walking his elderly canine, Mister Doggie, Ernie comes across an overgrown, vacant lot. Bingo! Perfect place for a pet cemetery.

Ernie starts making lists in the little notebook he carries with him. Employees. Clients. Advertising. One by one, he crosses each item off the list, and he's making money faster than he can put it in his pocket. He has funerals back-to-back after school and on weekends. Ernie and his cell phone are never idle.

That cell phone causes Ernie some embarrassment, though. Like at the dinner table with his dad when Ernie forgets to turn the phone off. Clients coming to the house with mysterious coffee cans can get sticky, too. Then Ernie has a rebellion among his employees. The girl he hires as his professional crier --- to console the clients and give solemnity to the ceremonies --- demands a raise. She won't take no for an answer, either, at least without quitting. Things get out of hand, and Ernie's business starts going downhill. Nobody can wail as beautifully as his departed employee, who has gone into business for herself now.

Then two bad things happen. The first thing is that Ernie's dad finds out about Ernie's funeral business. The second thing is Mister Doggie. What happens when his mother's little dog, as old as Ernie, needs Ernie's business? After the business has been closed by Ernie's father? And what was it really all about for Ernie? Business? Or something else? This book uses humor, plus something a lot deeper, to bring Ernie's story full-circle. How do things work out for him and his "business associates"?

Reviewed by Tamara Penny on February 1, 2002

The Beloved Dearly
written by Doug Cooney, illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi

  • Publication Date: February 1, 2002
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 0689831277
  • ISBN-13: 9780689831270