The main character in Before I Leave is a young hedgehog, Zelda, who must leave her best friend Aaron, because her family is moving away to another town. Her parents, and her friend Aaron, assure Zelda that everything will be okay, but she feels scared and doesn’t know if she will be alright. The author/illustrator, Jessixa Bagley, uses very few words. Yet she creates a distinct mood of loss and then lifts that mood with the potential of a new beginning.
In the first pages of the book, we see the two friends, Zelda and Aaron playing. There are scenes showing them playing together in all four seasons, but the most poignant are the scenes of their last day together. Jessixa Bagley's illustrations set a wonderful tone for this book, which, it turns out, is about creating a life-long friendship.