Chester Raccoon's good friend Skiddel Squirrel has had an accident and will not be returning - ever. Chester is upset that he won't get to play with his friend anymore. Mrs. Raccoon suggests that Chester and his friends create some memories of Skiddel, so that they will have good memories when they miss him. Chester, his brother Ronny, and their friends decide to gather at the pond, where they combine their memories and create a touching ...
Chester Raccoon's good friend Skiddel Squirrel has had an accident and will not be returning - ever. Chester is upset that he won't get to play with his friend anymore. Mrs. Raccoon suggests that Chester and his friends create some memories of Skiddel, so that they will have good memories when they miss him. Chester, his brother Ronny, and their friends decide to gather at the pond, where they combine their memories and create a touching celebration of their friend's life.
Many young children must face the loss of loved ones or the need to attend a funeral. This sweet story will help children to understand the positive purpose behind memorial services and how "making memories" can provide cheer and comfort when missing an absent loved one.
Audrey Penn's The Kissing Hand has become a mini-classic of children's literature. Penn uses a wise loving raccoon mother who is able to talk explicitly with her son Chester about issues that deeply concern every young child: How can I be sure my mother still loves me when I am away at school? When a new sibling comes, will Mamma love me less? In this fifth book about Raccoon, Penn talks about the difficult issue of unexpected death. When Skiddil Squirrel has an accident, Mrs. Raccoon directly acknowledges the pain of loss but also suggests Chester create some memories of his friend. The power of Penn's approach is that children are given a metaphorical entry into thinking about things that leave many adults feeling overwhelmed. Using animal characters with clearly human characteristics leaves the child free to consider this situation as "just a story" while getting a sensitive approach to finding some consolation in a difficult situation. Mrs. Raccoon's suggestion that Chester find and keep objects that honor the memory of his friend is another form of the powerful "Day of the Dead" traditions of Mexico. Reviewer: Mary Hynes-Berry
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—When Chester returns home from school, he tells his mother that the teacher said Skiddil Squirrel had an accident and would not be coming back. Mrs. Raccoon explains that his classmate's "heart quit beating and his body didn't work any more." She comforts her sad child by suggesting that he "make a memory of Skiddil Squirrel." The two start out for the squirrel's favorite place, and other animal friends join them. At the butterfly pond, Chester tells stories about how Skiddil loved butterflies and how he buried acorns for winter, but never found them. When Mrs. Raccoon points to a grove of young oak trees, Chester exclaims, "The forest made a Skiddil Squirrel memory!" Then he picks up an acorn to take home with him. Simple, direct dialogue demonstrates the love between this mother and child. Bright, stylized illustrations on high-gloss pages depict the animals with human emotions, convey warmth, and reinforce the text. Despite the tough subject, this fifth book in the series that began with The Kissing Hand (Child Welfare League of America, 1993) has a reassuring tone and provides an opening for a discussion on death and remembering loved ones.—Margaret R. Tassia, Millersville University, PA