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“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.”
Summary: A young girl watches her mom go away on a plane, never to return. All that is left is her father and her broken doll, Lucille. She takes Lucille with her everywhere, even on her father's work trips (he drives a truck). When a young girl tells her Lucille is dirty, her father suggests she throw the doll away ... the girl hid her. Then one day, they met a waitress named Chrissie. Chrissie and the girl become friends. This picture book is to comfort to children who have lost a parent.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, playtime reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 8; read yo urself: 6 to 9
Interest Level: 4 to 9
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: This is a beautiful book. The story is nicely laid out and the illustrations are gorgeous. What happened to the girl's mother is left unsaid, so a child dealing with divorce could find comfort just as easily as a child whose parent died. There is a lot of allegory in the story (grey birds), which will be beyond a young audience's understanding, but offer meaning to older children.
Pros: A soft story and beautiful, calming illustrations give children a story about loss they can relate to.
Cons: This isn't a book for all audiences. It has a very specific theme - the loss of a parent. The authors don't offer a well-defined sense of time, so some children may see that Chrissie becomes the girl's stepmother very quickly.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a book for a specific audience, but families and counselors trying to help children deal with loss will want this book on their shelves.
Educational Themes: This is a wonderful book for starting a conversation or talking about change in a family. It is not specific to grief, though there are events that let you talk about feelings and loss.
Notes: This book is not available via direct sale in the United States. The author donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.
Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, emotions, family, death and loss
Date(s) Reviewed: May 2010
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