cover image Remembering Crystal

Remembering Crystal

Sebastian Loth, North-South, $14.95 (64p) ISBN 978-0-7358-2300-6

This affecting, small-format import from Switzerland simply yet eloquently addresses the loss of a loved one and the enduring nature of friendship. Zelda is a young goose who loves spending time with her best friend Crystal, an aging turtle who “had lived in the garden for many years.” On faintly dappled, parchment-like pages, spare pictures tinged with humor show the two happily swimming, perusing a map on a trip (Crystal travels strapped to Zelda’s back), and perched on a swing in the moonlight. When one day Zelda cannot find her friend, the other geese straightforwardly explain, “She had a long and happy life. Now it was time for her to die.” As she searches for Crystal and recalls “all the good times they had shared,” Zelda’s denial gives way to acceptance. She feels lonely and sad, yet realizes that Crystal “would always be with her wherever she went, right there in her heart.” Though readers may not view the final image of the goose and turtle embracing through dry eyes, Loth steers clear of sentimentality in a story that’s both candid and tender. Ages 3–up. (May)