cover image The Goodbye Book

The Goodbye Book

Todd Parr. Little, Brown/Tingley, $17 (32p) ISBN 978-0-316-40497-6

With this deceptively simple look at coping with loss, featuring a fish in a fishbowl whose companion disappears, Parr adds to the list of universal issues he has explored, including family, thankfulness, love, the environment, and peace. Parr speaks to children in their own language, pairing easily interpreted pictures with empathic text that leaves ample room for interpretation and personalization—this is a book that could easily be used as a lead-in to discussions about death, a family move, or less dramatic separations. Acknowledging that “It’s hard to say goodbye to someone,” the direct and supportive narrative traces the fish’s initial reactions to the other fish’s disappearance (including sadness, anger, confusion, and denial), which give way to a gradual recovery as time passes (“You’ll remember all the fun you had”). The reassuring message that “there will always be someone to love you and hold you tight,” reinforced by a picture of a boy holding the fishbowl, drives home the idea that, while goodbyes are often difficult, they aren’t insurmountable. Ages 3–6. [em]Agent: Liz Stahler, Suppertime Entertainment. (Nov.) [/em]