It happens to everyone... to complete strangers and to those very close that you dearly love. Young kids struggle with what it means to die and they especially need TLC when trying to explain to them what death is according to their culture and to their family beliefs. Today's book may be helpful with that explanation. Saying goodbye is a very difficult thing to do. Is death forever?
By Jelleke Rijken
Illustratored by Mack van Gageldonk
Grade Level- PS+
Sweet Illustrations for you
About the book
Little bear is anxiously waiting for his grandfather's arrival as they both are going to fish together for the day. Grandpa doesn't show up. Instead Elephant does with some very bad news. "Grandpa is dead", Elephant says softly to his friend. Oh my!
Bear cannot contain himself when he hears about his beloved Grandpa and tears start to flow. He is beside himself with grief and luckily for him his two good friends, Elephant and Chicken, stay close by his side and give him comfort and advice as how to cope.
Together they show him how to say goodbye to his loved one. Bear wants to give Grandpa a gift so he makes a special heartfelt drawing to present to him when he says goodbye. Chicken wanders off and decides she will pick some of Grandpa's favourite yellow flowers. That will be her gift to him.
Grandpa is laying very still covered in leaves that have fallen from a tree. Each animal in turn express their condolences and present their gift to honour the deceased patriarch.
The trio end their sad day by building a beautiful campfire and sharing happy memories of Grandpa. They answer little bears hard questions that he is seeking answers to. Through all his tears and grief little Bear finally understands that Grandpa has not abandoned him but he will have his Grandpa close to him forever as he has him in his heart.
This heartbreaking and heartwarming book is bitter sweet. It is a gentle story with illustrations that are simple and full of emotion. They enrich the text and give the reader an understanding of loss, grief and hope. I liked the book a lot. I would definitely recommend that the book be read by an adult to a child making it a wonderful catalyst to open up dialogue between the two about what it means to die and how those left behind can find peace about their passing.
Storywraps Rating - 5 HUGS!!!!!
About the author
Jelleke Rijken (1973, Wassenaar) knew from an early age that she wanted to become a teacher. She followed the Pabo in The Hague and has been in the class since 1996. In addition, she has a practice to guide children through meditation, coaching and massages. She lives with husband and son in Voorburg.
The love for books was with Jelleke early on. As a child she could fully engage in a story. Many a night she went to sleep late, because she secretly read under the covers with a flashlight.
Son Matthijs is too young to read for himself, but every evening one of the parents from the richly filled bookcase chooses a book to read. The stories raise all kinds of questions with the child and lead to fascinating philosophical conversations between parents and children.
The book Dag opa is close to Jelleke's heart. She lost her father at a young age. This experience has been the inspiration for this book. A book with which she hopes that there can be spoken about death in an open and honest way, both by parents and children.
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