Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Todd Parr ; illustrated by Todd Parr

Pub Date: Nov. 3rd, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-316-40497-6
Publisher: Megan Tingley/Little, Brown

Bestselling author Parr turns his trademark combination of boldly colored, simple illustrations and matter-of-fact, streamlined text to the topic of loss.

Without ever mentioning the word death, Parr presents a story in his illustrations of a goldfish who is missing his green fish friend; a redheaded child and a black-and-white dog are also looking sad, and a photo of the missing fish is framed on the table. The text speaks directly to readers, moving from the opening sentence, “It’s hard to say goodbye to someone,” to an exploration of some of the varied feelings readers might have and how they play out in behaviors. The book manages to address many of the aspects of grief: you may not feel like eating or sleeping, or you may pretend it never happened. But eventually, you’ll start to remember all the good times you shared with the one you are missing, though not all your days will be good. The goldfish is a good guide on the journey, with just enough anthropomorphization for kids to identify with it but leaving some ambiguity so children going through many types of loss can relate—perhaps the fish friend just moved to a new home? With very few props, a line mouth, and a dot eye, Parr manages to give his fish a wide range of emotions and behaviors.

An excellent guide to grief for a multitude of situations.

(Picture book. 3-8)