Lottie the hen must say goodbye to her beloved aunt Mattie in this gentle story about loss, grief and friendship.
When the hospital calls to say Aunt
Mattie is getting weak, Lottie journeys to see her. On the long bus ride, happy
memories surface—of shared picnics and jokes, and of Mattie herself, a bird
full of humor and gusto, who found her calling as a nurse. But now Aunt Mattie
is 99, ready to fly to the great beyond. For hours, Lottie sits with her aunt
at the hospital. Descriptive details (the sound of Aunt Mattie’s breathing, the
way she looks in the hospital bed, the feeling of day turning to night) are
simply captured; yet in doing so, Mathers brings meaning to the clinical and
unfamiliar. Here, these moments are precious and valuable. Throughout the tale,
Lottie’s friend Herbie is a comforting presence. His innocent perspective
allows even the very young to grasp complex concepts. As he drives Lottie to
the bus station, meets her at the hospital and shares in her heartache, it’s
clear his friendship and support make this difficult time bearable for Lottie.
Together, the two scatter Aunt Mattie’s ashes in the ocean, so she’ll “always
be near...mixed in with sand and sea.” Watercolor illustrations, painted in
mostly square panels and organized like an old newspaper comic strip, are
earnest and appealing.
Lucid and insightful, Mathers presents death and
grief as natural processes with compassion and great care. (Picture book.