When the boy in this story wakes to find that his mother has died, he is overwhelmed with sadness, anger, and fear that he will forget her. Read more...
When the boy in this story wakes to find that his mother has died, he is overwhelmed with sadness, anger, and fear that he will forget her. He shuts all the windows to keep in his mother's familiar smell and scratches open the cut on his knee to remember her comforting voice. He doesn't know how to speak to his dad anymore, and when Grandma visits and throws open the windows, it's more than the boy can take--until his grandmother shows him another way to feel that his mom's love is near. With tenderness, touches of humor, and unflinching emotional truth, Charlotte Moundlic captures the loneliness of grief through the eyes of a child, rendered with sympathy and charm in Olivier Tallec's expressive illustrations.
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Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-09-19
- Reviewer: Staff
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.)