When his mother dies, a little boy reacts honestly to his profound loss in this poignant snapshot of grief.
The day after realizing his ailing mother is “really going to die,” a boy awakens to his father’s devastating announcement: “She’s gone forever.” Furious with his mother for leaving, the boy angrily lashes out, “Well, good riddance,” then worries how his devastated father will manage. Initially, the boy doesn’t want to sleep and has a “bit of a stomachache.” He closes the windows to contain his mother’s scent and plugs his ears, covers his eyes and shuts his mouth to preserve the sound of her voice. After scraping his knee, he feels comforted by the memory of his mother assuring him he’s “too strong for anything to hurt.” Healing begins when Grandma suggests his mother’s still in his heart. He feels her beating there. Speaking in first person, present tense, the boy candidly describes his loss and concern for his grieving father with heartfelt immediacy. Rendered in pencil and wash in a limited palette of reds and yellows, simple illustrations stress the boy’s distress and isolation while powerfully conveying his progression from anger and fear to sadness and acceptance.A sympathetic exploration of the stages of grief through the eyes of one little boy. (Picture book. 5 & up)