cover image The Scar

The Scar

Charlotte Moundlic, illus. by Olivier Tallec. Candlewick, $14.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-5341-5

Moundlic’s English-language debut opens at an exquisitely painful moment; the boy narrator’s father tells him that his terminally ill mother has died overnight. Moundlic captures the raw, unmanageable feelings that sweep over the boy: rage (“ ‘Well, good riddance!’ I yelled to Dad. I couldn’t believe she’d left us”), melancholy (“I’m trying not to forget what Mom smells like”), and an especially moving concern for his newly widowed father (“He won’t be able to manage without her”). As the boy struggles to master his feelings, his grief collides with his father’s and his grandmother’s. A scrape on his knee recalls his mother’s consoling voice (“It’s just a scratch, my little man”); as it starts to heal, the boy does, too. Both Moundlic and Tallec leaven sadness with humor, Moundlic in words (“ ‘It’s me!’ I shout... which is dumb, since Dad knows that we’re the only two here”) and Tallec (the Big Wolf and Little Wolf books) with lighthearted, impishly sketched artwork. An invaluable resource for adults who need to understand what grief means to a child—and perhaps for a grieving child, as a roadmap through it. Ages 5–up. (Nov.)