Tag Archives: Loss

Raymie Nightingale – Kate DiCamillo

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Walker Books

ISBN: 9781406373189
Imprint: Walker
May 1, 2017
Australian RRP: $14.99
New Zealand RRP: $16.99

 

I know that most folks will already know Raymie Nightingale but this paperback edition has been my ‘waiting for child pick up’ read for a few weeks so it did take me a while to get through in the short snatches. It comes as no surprise that this is another successful book for Kate DiCamillo bursting with warmth and love as well as poignancy.  If you didn’t manage to catch Kate on her recent tour you certainly should put it on your bucket list as she is just a delightful, engaging and genuine speaker. Kate puts her heart into every book she writes and perhaps none more so than Raymie. The parallels between her own life and that of Raymie are open for all to see and certainly her conversations about the book confirm this.

Raymie is devastated when her father takes off with a dental hygienist. She devises a plan to get him back – or at least call her. So she enters the Little Miss Central Florida competition and upon advice from her father’s sympathetic ex-secretary takes up baton twirling as her ‘performance’. She doesn’t like the twirling lessons at all and at first she doesn’t like the other two girls with whom she is learning. Beverley is a very cynical and embittered little girl with a pushy bullying mother and Louisiana is an odd little girl living with her eccentric grandmother and in fear of being put in the state home. Despite all odds the threesome become the firmest of friends and with many interludes of comradeship of somewhat dubious nature goes on to create their own happy – or happier than before – endings.

This is a warm and inspiring story for girls who may be having some difficulties in their own lives, showing them that though life may throw curve balls, friends can bring you just the support you need to get through it all.

Highly recommended for readers from around ten years upwards. Find activity notes here.

Eve and Elly – Mike Dumbleton/Laura Wood

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Penguin Random House

ISBN 9780857988515

May 2016

Random House Australia Children’s

$16.99

I have always admired Mike Dumbleton’s ability to take a simple story line or idea and turn it into a gorgeous and relevant picture book for little ones.  This one is no exception.

If, as a parent, you have ever been in a similar position you will completely empathise but for little people who have had a loss of some special comfort in their life it is just so special.

Eve, like many little humans, has a special friend. Her toy elephant Elly goes everywhere with her. So of course, when her family goes on holidays Elly is also there enjoying the beach and the sea.

On the way home when Eve feels ill and the car stops for a break, Elly drops out of the car and is left behind inadvertently. Naturally Eve is just devastated but with loving parents to help her work through this dilemma is somewhat mollified. Dad being very simpatico orders a new ‘Elly’ online and when this new friend arrives has a very convincing story to explain why she is smaller – after all, all that running to follow the car! Imagine Eve’s surprise when the original Elly turns up, posted by some kind finder. I can just imagine Dad’s face as the plan backfires.

Two things come to mind which make this resonant with me especially. A long time ago my Jen went on camp (must have been school camp as Brownie/Guide camps I was there as the leader). I was left in charge of her pet mice. Mouse disappears – instant panic!! Race to pet shop to find identical mouse. Jen arrives home – “She looks smaller”………hmmm, maybe she missed you and fretted? Total bust two days later when the original mouse was found climbing the lounge room curtains!!!

Secondly, when Jen was in hospital critically ill at the start of last year, I bought a little plush cat for her to cuddle for comfort when we were gone. After we lost her, I told Small that Mummy asked her to look after Mr Squiggles and he is always in evidence – in fact, it took months before she didn’t have him under her arm 24/7. In a panic recently, as Mr Squiggles gets smaller and grubbier (despite a couple of baths) I have bought a replacement when I happened to see it but know there is no way in hell she would ever be fooled.

Sometimes, we underestimate the depth of attachment our little people have with these special toys or items and as adults it can be easy to brush over it with – ‘It will be alright’. Loss is loss – no matter how old you are.

I love that Eve’s Dad makes sure he tries everything to minimise his little girl’s pain – everyone needs a daddy just like that.

Laura Wood’s illustrations are simple but evocative – thank you both for such a super book for small humans.

Grandad’s Island – Benji Davies

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  • Simon & Schuster UK
  • 32 pages |
  • ISBN 9781471119958
  • July 2015

RRP

AU$ 14.99

NZ$ 16.99

For many children, losing a grandparent is often their first experience with death and grief. The emotions of this may be openly expressed or may not be so visible to observers. Using a picture book to invite discussion on this topic may be very valuable for either individuals or classes.

There are many quality books that handle the topic of loss with sensitivity and the wise teacher-librarian will usually have quite a collection in order to be ready for the occasions when they are needed.

This new book by Benji Davies examines this topic with a beautiful and gentle grace as the close bond between grandfather and grandson and their final parting is described.  The colourful illustrations of his favourite destination underline the ‘perfect place’ in which Grandad chooses to stay and reassure Syd that Grandad will be happy there.

I also believe this would be an excellent choice to deal with the concerns a child might have about a grandparent going into a care facility.

Watch the book trailer to see a preview and find out more about the award-winning author here.