My teacher read the story to me and I'll always remember it as THE book that hooked me into reading. Now, 20 years later, I read this story to my 5th graders every year and find that it hooks them as well. It is one of my students' fondest memories of 5th grade and our year together. Every one can relate to loving a special pet. I always follow up the book with the movie. Needless to say, they always say that the book is way better. I was so glad to see the new version of the movie come out on DVD. The older version always had a dark picture that was a little hard to view at times (technology issue). I watched the new version last night and must say that the book is still so much better. I guess for the sake of time, they have to leave out certain parts, but the book really spoils you. I am glad that the movie still included the spiritual aspects from the book. It reminds one to have faith and to try to meet GOD half way when asking HIM for help. So many people/movies/books fail to share this message to keep from offending people. "Hats-off" to the producers for taking a stand and including the spiritual aspects as a vital part of the story. This is a wonderful message that we should never forget. I'll continue to read and show the DVD year after year. I am really happy that I have a more updated video to show my students. If you have never read this book, I hope this review will inspire you to do so. Even if you have already seen the movie, before reading the book, you'll still be surprised throughout the story. It is truly an emotional, life-changing story. Upon reading it, you'll never forget the way it made you feel.