Life can be like a roller coaster.
Grandpa loves roller coasters and was known as “The Rollercoaster Kid” as a boy, while Zach prefers to ride the Ferris wheel with Grandma, in part because coasters scare him. Zach knows he’ll get over it though; as Grandma says, “When the time is right, you’ll face your fear.” Relaxed, pencil-and-watercolor illustrations depict the beach town where the extended family summers and show Zach and his grandparents enjoying the amusement park and seaside. Unfortunately, by the next year, Grandma has died, and though the whole family misses her terribly, nobody mentions her for fear of making Grandpa even sadder. In an effort to help Grandpa feel better, Zach decides to face his fears and take Grandpa for a ride on the roller coaster, but when Grandpa doesn’t praise him as Grandma would have, it makes Zach blurt out how much he misses her. Is this a mistake? Presented with warmth, sensitivity and a light touch, this story demonstrates the human need for sharing and support after a death, whatever one’s age, and emphasizes the need for communication and comfort.
This gentle book provides a good starting point for conversations about death and how people react to it. (Picture book. 4-7)