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Summary: Our narrator talks about someone special in your life. The things he loved, the people he cared about, the things he did to help others. Even after he got sick, he persevered. And when he died, the people he touched decided they could be just like him. This is a picture book for children who have suffered the loss of a grown-up in their life.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, playtime reading, read aloud book, learning to read
Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 9; read yourself: 9 to 12
Interest Level: 5 to 10
Age of Child: Read with 5½-year-old child.
Young Reader Reaction: We had a few questions toward the end; like how can a dead person juggle? S/He didn't completely understand the concept, but then again, the only death s/he has experienced is a fish and a squished caterpillar.
Adult Reader Reaction: This is a well-timed book, we have been getting lots of questions about death and the hereafter. Although it didn't fulfill all our needs, we were happy to find a book that introduced the idea of celebrating someone's life by picking up where they left off. The repetition of the verses to demonstrate time were an excellent tool for doing just that.
Pros: This is a comforting read for children (young listeners and older children, too) who are trying to understand how you "go on" after someone special dies. Although there are no names, the book is easily personalized with just one reading.
Cons: None, really.
Borrow or Buy: Buy! There aren't a lot of quality books on death for kids. This is one of them. It won't be enough to read this one time, and you may want it on hand for years to come. It will appeal to all ages.
Educational Themes: This is part poem, part catharsis. It can be read as a solitary remembrance, or as part of a journey of memories. Depending on the personal situation, it could also be the catalyst for inspiring a 'living memory' for yourself.
Literary Categories: fiction - family, picture book, death and loss, grandparents