A family begins healing following a devastating loss.
Sarah lovingly remembers big brother Ethan, who has died. Mommy and Daddy won’t talk or reminisce about him; neither wants to hear his name. Small acts offer solace: saying Ethan’s name aloud, writing his name, drawing his picture. When Sarah hangs the drawing on the refrigerator, Mommy and Daddy, distraught, leave the room. When Sarah angrily shouts that no one else seems to miss or remember Ethan, Mommy and Daddy must finally confront their pain. In doing so, they rehang the drawing in a more prominent location and gently explain that it’s grief that’s made them seem unfeeling. Poring over a family album allows everyone to openly share happy memories. The upbeat ending of this well-written, reassuring tale feels a tad rushed, and there’s no sense of how much time has elapsed since Ethan’s death. However, the author gets two important plot points just right. The circumstances surrounding Ethan’s death aren’t mentioned, suggesting the family (all depicted with pale skin and dark hair) is heartbroken simply because Ethan has died; as in real life, one cause is no less wrenching than another. Furthermore, the child has real agency; Sarah effects change in the family dynamic that leads to cathartic healing. The delicate illustrations are expressive and effective. Useful psychologist’s tips in the backmatter guide adults in helping children discuss the death of a family member.
Gentle, comforting bibliotherapy. (Picture book. 4-8)