Book review: Goodbye, grandpa

Written by Jelleke Rijken + Illustrated by Mack van Gageldonk 

Tackles: Death of a grandparent 

Age Range: 4 and up 

Genre: Picture Book

This book tells the story of a bear who is going fishing with his grandpa and instead finds out his grandpa has died. Upon first read of this book, I was a little startled at how blunt this book is. The pictures are gentle and child friendly but the text can seem a bit curt. 

Bears friends gather around him and help him understand what being dead means. They all bring grandpa flowers and sing a song, bear hugs his grandpa and says goodbye and they all sit around the fire telling stories about grandpa. Bear realizes that has grandpa will always be with him in spirit and wants to go fishing the next day in grandpas honor. 

I am a fan of children’s books that don’t dance around the point and use correct terminology while remaining kid friendly. However, this book will not be for everyone and I do recommend that adults read this before deciding to introduce this to children.  The book also talks about what comes with death such as sadness, support from loved ones, and finding peace in the event, which is important when talking to children about death. I also appreciate that the main characters are animals, so that children can relate to the story and no one feels alienated.  However, this is more story based and doesn’t include additional information or notes to caregivers on how to introduce this book. Many other children’s books about death do, and I think some sort of note from the author would have been helpful here. 

7 out of 10 leaves 

Buy it here.

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