cover image Saying Good-Bye to Grandma

Saying Good-Bye to Grandma

James Cross Giblin, Jane Resh Thomas, Marcia Sewall. Clarion Books, $15.95 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-89919-645-9

Told from the point of view of a seven-year-old named Suzie, this tenderly rendered story explores the rituals of death and the loss of a loved one. When Grandma passes away, Suzie and her parents take a bittersweet car trip back to the small seaside town where Mom and Dad grew up so they can attend Grandma's funeral and be with relatives. Feeling simultaneously nervous, curious, sad and afraid, Suzie soon discovers that funerals are a family kind of time, filled with laughter and tears and a lot of love. Thomas's sensitive and straightforward story line follows Suzie and her family as they say goodbye to Grandma at the funeral home (where Suzie and her cousins ease the tension by playing a game of ``capture the flag'' in the room where the caskets are stored), attend funeral and burial services the following day and mingle with family members and friends at the huge buffet meal served afterward at the church. The text is complemented by Sewall's primitive pastel illustrations, with simple, telling forms that convey the full emotional range of the day; this candid and comforting tale will help readers of all ages cope with the complex fears and emotions that coincide with a death in the family. Ages 6-9. (September)