The End of Something Wonderful: A Practical Guide to a Backyard Funeral

Stephanie V. W. Lucianovic, illus. by George Ermos. Sterling, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-454932-11-6
When Something Wonderful (“like a guinea pig or a fish”) suddenly becomes Something Dead, one might wonder what to do. Enter Lucianovic, whose picture book debut offers an objective guide to the backyard burial. Macabre humor winks at readers behind precise instructions and tips: “A WARNING: Don’t get excited and try [to] bury something that isn’t dead. Not only is it rude, but it is also annoying when the Something Dead walks away before the backyard funeral is even over.” In an accompanying image, a cat covered in dirt glares at its owner as it stalks off. Ermos (Dough Knights and Dragons) matches Lucianovic’s humor with playfully energetic scenes featuring diverse characters with large, expressive eyes in absurd situations, such as taking a grave-digging lunch break atop a deceased hippopotamus. Tenderness also glimmers through the playful morbidity: “You could also explain how being dead won’t ever change how much you love [your animal]. But if you don’t feel like saying it out loud, it’s perfectly okay to hug that thought inside your heart, too.” A sensitive yet refreshingly frank and good-humored resource for children mourning the loss of a pet. Ages 5–8. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 10/24/2019
Release date: 09/01/2019
Genre: Children's
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