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by Udo Weigelt & illustrated by Cristina Kadmon

Age Range: 5 - 7

Pub Date: April 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-7358-1799-5
Publisher: NorthSouth

An old bear bids goodbye to his dismayed animal friends, then, after a brief conversation with a young fox about dying and the possibility of heaven, quietly passes away. Using a muted palette to reflect the text’s somber tone, Kadmon (Alex Did It!, 2002, etc.) places young-looking, slightly indistinct animals in a peaceful, shaded woodland setting; the effect is serious, but not heavily so. Though books can help children figure out how to think about death and grief, this one does so a bit awkwardly; at the end, the animals share memories of their friend, and Fox takes a ball that belonged to him. But in the final illustration, as they recall how they welcomed him as he would come out of his cave every spring, they all seem to be greeting a new, healthy bear, rather than remembering the old one, and there’s no sign of Fox’s memento. Simon Puttock’s A Story for Hippo, illustrated by Alison Bartlett (2001) treats the topic in a similar, but less visually confusing, way. (Picture book. 5-7)