Goodbye, Grandpa by Jelleke Rijken
Publisher: Clavis Publishing
Genre: Childrens Fiction
Bear and Grandpa are going fishing today. But why is Grandpa sleeping in the grass? What is going on? “Grandpa is dead,” Elephant says softly to his friend Bear. Bear starts to cry. Will he ever see Grandpa again? Chicken and Elephant comfort their friend and explain to him that Grandpa will be with him forever. They say goodbye to him in a beautiful way.
As a children’s book goes this is the first one I’ve come across that deals so directly with the loss of a loved one. From beginning to end this book was very straightforward.
Some things I felt could have been explained a lot better. Maybe not so directly, so matter of factly. Even that blurb is very head on. In a childs mind it’s likely to raise more questions than it attempts to answer. Of course that can still be a good thing becuase it provides a great opportunity to open an other wise dismal subject.
What makes this book a great companion though for this real life situation is the way in which the loss is handled and more in the way that Bear’s friends showed their support. Especially to someone who has never lost a grandparent. Each character expresses their feelings in different, yet typical ways. One brings flowers, one brings a few pictures, and together they help Bear understand that even though his Grandpa is no longer around, he will always be close by. All Bear has to do is close his eyes and remember the special things they did together. In that sense he will always have Grandpa with him. Much like we do when we lose someone, we hold onto the memories we created to keep our loved ones close at heart.
Would I add this to my child’s shelf? Uhm, maybe. I personally think it’s a great way to introduce the topic. However there are some things I probably would explain differently. To say that I would go out of my way to pick up a brand new copy of this is unlikely. Hoever if I came across it at a second hand book store I may pick it up.
I gave this book 3 stars. It has a powerful message for such a short story and the illustrations make it easy to help understand what’s going on. Again I really enjoyed the support that was shown for Bear and his Grandpa. I do recommend this book, at least as a one time read.
*I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for this honest review.*