Thomas, J. R.
There are other books about the death of a grandparent, but this one–focusing on the gathering of family and friends and the healing events surrounding the funeral ceremony from the point of view of seven-year-old Suzie–is particularly well done. The straightforward account begins with a two-day journey across the Midwest to Grandpa’s lakeside home and includes the joy of the family being together as well as their sorrow; it depicts a nice, strong American family at its best. The coffin is open, and Suzie touches Grandma, lovingly, one last time; when he kids escape to play among the (empty) coffins downstairs till the viewing is over, the adults wisely accept their need to play. Grandpa isn’t hungry and is heard weeping in the night; but before Suzie leaves, he has gone fishing with her, and she agrees to come to see him soon again. Using a gently muted palette with the reiteration of the orange and yellow of sunset and sunlight shining like hope, Sewall’s lovely illustrations reflect the story’s quiet mood. Her characters, carefully uspecific, could be our own Family, their postures indicating their close concern for one another.
Amazon Editorial Reviews
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Amazon Reader Review
This book is a valuable reference for adults trying to explain to a child, what happens during the calling hours and funeral ritual. It also is a good book for a child who has lost a grandparent to read as well. It hits many aspects of loss, to include the phases of grief as well as the some common funeral rituals. The trip to and from grandpa’s home allowed reflection and reminiscing by the family. In doing that the child was able to learn more about grandma and to share her own times with her grandmother. . The story also shows, well , the different phases of grief among family members, ie the tears of the grandfather and the mother. There were tender moments. One such moment took place with the child and her grandfather when he spoke of his wife’s love of fishing. The child was a comfort to her grandfather. The child at one point was given the choice to attend the funeral and her decision to attend was honored. This inclusion in the decision makes the funeral less scary for a child. The child was a part of the process and was able to experience the feelings of loss, as well as the ritual, the ability to reminisce and to celebrate the life of the person who passed. This book was written very simply and in a matter of fact manner. The illustrations were soft and non threatening. I have added this book to our Hospice library and feel that it will be a good resource for our community.