A deeply felt, child-appropriate book on dying that’s resonant for all ages.



A debut picture book for children and adults that offers a positive perspective on loss and grief.

This elegantly simple book by Bertram, an art therapist, focuses on the close relationship between a grandmother and her grandchild. It’s told from the child’s point of view as the youngster processes the impending loss of a beloved grandmother, who once “bathed me, fed me, played with me and loved me.” The grandmother is nearing the end of her life (“[a]s I got bigger, the body Grandma’s spirit lived in became old and tired”), and now she’s being bathed, fed and loved with her grandchild’s help. Grandma’s spirit, the child says, has grown too big for the body that houses it; soon it will “rise up and she will become one with everything around me, including myself. She will be part of the rain, sun, wind, and trees.” In this comforting, soulful view of the afterlife, sunlight will be Grandma’s hug, and the rain will be Grandma saying hello. Sitting high in a “comfy” tree will be like sitting in Grandma’s lap (“I will hear her stories inside me”), and the wind will be Grandma’s invitation to run and play. And “one day,” as is the natural way of things, the child says, “I will grow too big for my house,” and “[a]s the wind, I will sing quietly in your ear….I will be the rain that taps you on the head.” The expressive flow and swirl of Bertram’s and DiGuiseppi’s colorful mixed-media illustrations provide a complementary backdrop to the well-crafted text. The author makes no reference to religion, instead offering readers of all ages an inclusive, uplifting message of transition, connection and spiritual renewal.

A deeply felt, child-appropriate book on dying that’s resonant for all ages.

Pub Date: March 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-0615896267

Page Count: 32

Publisher: BravenArt

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2014

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            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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A rollicking tale of rivalry.


Sweet Street had just one baker, Monsieur Oliphant, until two new confectionists move in, bringing a sugar rush of competition and customers.

First comes “Cookie Concocter par excellence” Mademoiselle Fee and then a pie maker, who opens “the divine Patisserie Clotilde!” With each new arrival to Sweet Street, rivalries mount and lines of hungry treat lovers lengthen. Children will delight in thinking about an abundance of gingerbread cookies, teetering, towering cakes, and blackbird pies. Wonderfully eccentric line-and-watercolor illustrations (with whites and marbled pastels like frosting) appeal too. Fine linework lends specificity to an off-kilter world in which buildings tilt at wacky angles and odd-looking (exclusively pale) people walk about, their pantaloons, ruffles, long torsos, and twiglike arms, legs, and fingers distinguishing them as wonderfully idiosyncratic. Rotund Monsieur Oliphant’s periwinkle complexion, flapping ears, and elongated nose make him look remarkably like an elephant while the women confectionists appear clownlike, with exaggerated lips, extravagantly lashed eyes, and voluminous clothes. French idioms surface intermittently, adding a certain je ne sais quoi. Embedded rhymes contribute to a bouncing, playful narrative too: “He layered them and cherried them and married people on them.” Tension builds as the cul de sac grows more congested with sweet-makers, competition, frustration, and customers. When the inevitable, fantastically messy food fight occurs, an observant child finds a sweet solution amid the delicious detritus.

A rollicking tale of rivalry. (Picture book. 4-8 )

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-101-91885-2

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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