cover image Papa’s New Home

Papa’s New Home

Jessica Lynn Curtis, illus. by Steve Harmon. Tristan (www., $16.95 (40p) ISBN 978-0-931674-64-8

One day, Jessie’s grandfather, Papa, goes to the hospital and instead of coming home goes “to live in a place called Heaven.” Angry and bereft, Jessie has bad dreams and finds no comfort in her parents’ reassurances of eventual reunion. However, when Papa himself, now “sparkly,” visits her one night, she has an opportunity to express her feelings and ask questions about life, death, and what comes after. Prose and illustrations build on each other in this tender and reassuring story that offers familiar descriptions, yet avoids cliché. One scene depicts Jessie looking in a mirror, while Papa explains that the light in her eyes is “your spirit shining through... the part of you that will live forever.” Harmon’s paintings begin with dark, somber hues conveying loss, then become lighter and more colorful as Papa shows Jessie and her teddy bear around Heaven, introducing her to his parents, brother, and generations of boisterous family dogs. Curtis’s use of scriptural allusions both subtle (“in the blink of an eye”) and obvious (“choir of angels”) conveys a theologically orthodox view of heaven that is likely to provide wide consolation. All ages. (Nov.)