Herrick (You’re Not Finished Yet, 2011) offers an illustrated explanation of what happens when we die.
Framed as a conversation between young Duncan and his grandmother, this picture book offers Grandma’s view of the soul, death, and heaven. She describes how, when people die, their souls (something that resides deep inside of everyone) float up out of their bodies. Souls are led through a dark tunnel toward a bright light, where they are greeted by the souls of loved ones who have preceded them in death. The souls then reside in heaven for “a very long time,” enjoying themselves and watching over those still living. The story concludes with a “Section For Parents” that includes thoughts on the ways adults should view their own souls. For the most part, the book presents a fairly standard, nondenominational Western view of death and heaven; however, some of these beliefs are of a specific variety that may not appeal to all the faithful. For instance, Herrick suggests that the living and the dead can communicate using a type of electricity and that the dead primarily visit the living in their dreams. She also makes fleeting reference to the presence of “positive ancestors” watching over the living, implying that “negative ancestors” also exist and may or may not be in heaven. The section for parents reveals an even more tailored belief system: Herrick cites Jung in claiming that the soul is “located in the fifth layer of your unconscious.” She also expresses a belief in reincarnation—which seems at odds with the content of the story—asserting that the soul “holds your personality and many other personalities that have come from your past lives.” The illustrations, also by Herrick, are skillfully done in a soft, cartoonish style, portraying some of Grandma’s claims about heaven in a fun, accessible way. Overall, the good-natured book presents a comforting view of the afterlife, though its attractiveness to parents will largely depend on whether they share the same view.
A well-executed picture book detailing one path the soul could take.