A boy copes with the death of his great-grandmother by sharing memories with others in Shindle’s debut picture book.
Graham loves going to his Nana’s house. Specifically, he loves her “pillow-soft lap” and how she calls him a “honeybunch of stink weeds.” Most of all, he loves her backyard’s “magic swing.” Each visit, they get out a map and decide where the swing will take them. Together, they imagine adventures, such as flying from Canada to Australia. But one day, Graham finds out that his Nana has died, and he’s unsure how to handle it. A family gathering where they remember and talk about Nana is hard for him; the funeral, where Graham sees Nana’s body, is difficult, too. He struggles with being sad, mad, and worried, but when his siblings join him on the magic swing, he finds Nana’s map in the cushions and realizes he can share her magic. Overall, this is a touching and straightforward work. Helpful notes at the end will assure grieving children that whatever feelings they have about loss are OK, and they offer tips on how to cope. Shindle’s prose is simple enough for independent readers to grasp, and the illustrations of Graham’s Caucasian family land somewhere between cartoonish and realistic.
An approachable book about losing a loved one and honoring their memory.