IS GRANDPA IN HEAVEN FOREVER? by Kate Mahrholz

IS GRANDPA IN HEAVEN FOREVER?

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A young boy innocently asks questions about what happens after his grandfather dies in this faith-based, kid’s-eye-view debut book.

Jaxon doesn’t understand why Mommy is crying; he knows that when he and his parents and little sister sit around the kitchen table together, he feels safe. When Mommy explains that Grandpa went to heaven, Jaxon isn’t sure what that means. “But Mommy, I will miss Grandpa. When can I see him again?” he asks. As Jaxon processes what it means to lose his grandfather, his mother, quietly dealing with her own grief, explains the situation the best that she can, teaching Jaxon and his sister that Grandpa has become their Guardian Angel, and that he’s gone to keep God company. In heaven, Grandpa isn’t sick anymore. But it takes some time for Jaxon to understand this. He wants to know when Grandpa will return to his house, and when he’ll get his things back. When Mommy explains that heaven has everything that Grandpa needs, Jaxon wants to know if they have pizza in that celestial realm, or TV, or books. Jaxon wonders whether Grandpa will miss his dog, who now lives with Grandma Dee. Later, after the funeral, which Jaxon only understands as “church was kind of boring,” the boy desires to visit Grandpa in heaven, and wants to know how Grandpa got there without driving his Jeep. Mommy is finally able to explain that Grandpa is still in Jaxon’s memories and dreams, and that Grandpa will watch Jaxon grow from heaven. Full of beautifully painted illustrations of a middle-class Caucasian family, Mahrholz’s tale and Jaxon’s very realistic questions should offer comfort to young readers from similarly Christian families. Adults may wonder why the idea of death is so thoroughly skirted—Mommy explains that angels took Grandpa, but never mentions that his body was left behind, for example—and some may question the doctrine of the Guardian Angels or the idea that “we can say our prayers to God and to Grandpa every night.” Ultimately, the volume will likely appeal to families with similar worldviews.

A useful work for Christians addressing genuine questions from youngsters learning about death for the first time.

Pub Date: Nov. 16th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4575-5224-3
Publisher: Dog Ear
Program: Kirkus Indie
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