The Goodbye Boat

Overview

Saying goodbye to someone you love is always hard. Saying goodbye when someone you love dies is perhaps the hardest thing of all.

Joslin's simple, thoughtful text and Little's evocative illustrations explore the pain and grief of saying goodbye and open the door to discussion for readers of any age. The Goodbye Boat provides a message of hope that sadness will ease and comforts with the reassurance that death is not the end.

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Overview

Saying goodbye to someone you love is always hard. Saying goodbye when someone you love dies is perhaps the hardest thing of all.

Joslin's simple, thoughtful text and Little's evocative illustrations explore the pain and grief of saying goodbye and open the door to discussion for readers of any age. The Goodbye Boat provides a message of hope that sadness will ease and comforts with the reassurance that death is not the end.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Bookwatch
[Joslin's] caring, sensitive, and inspiring picture book is superbly illustrated by the artistic talents of Claire St. Louis Little.
Christian Parenting Today
Beautiful and evocative illustrations will please readers with their simplicity.
Moody
If you have ever struggled to share God's love and hope to children in the midst of the grief and confusion of death, The Goodbye Boat may be a helpful and comforting resource.”
School Library Journal
The entire image is expressive and lovely.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
With minimal text and artwork that brims with symbolism, this picture book explores the difficult subject matter of the death of a loved one and a family's ensuing grief. Joslin and St. Louis Little introduce a young family enjoying a beach outing with an elderly woman. Before long, the woman and two children see a large ship approach and the woman apparently gets on board, sailing out of sight leaving "sad friends... weeping" on the shore. Later (several seasons have passed) we see her standing on the ship's deck "sailing somewhere new." While the spare text is evocative and thought-provoking, coupled with the sequence of paintings here, its brevity will likely prove confusing for young readers. The elderly woman waves goodbye on one page, then on the next page she's back, petting the dog. The season also turns from sunny summer to chilly fall on the same spread. Joslin's overarching message, that the pain of grief eventually subsides and that there is a positive afterlife experience, is a comforting one; unfortunately, it's poorly executed. Although her characters have limbs that sometimes appear rubbery and out of proportion, the artist achieves an appropriately sentimental and sometimes serene mood in her oil paintings. Ages 2-up. (Feb.)
Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
Written to help the author's children cope with their grandfather's death, this book is absolutely lovely. The image of the dying person merely setting sail on a new ship that will take him somewhere else is captivating. With just a few words, Joslin lets us know that active grieving doesn't last forever, and perhaps the best thing we can do is accept death as a part of life, and remember with love, not longing. The pictures are exquisite, telling the story almost as well as the words. The woman who gets on the boat has been shown as a loving grandmother; her passing leaves the children "wondering...weeping" through "lonely days" and a "long, dark night." But the seasons pass and in the end, the children can finally find joy.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2With only a word or a very short phrase per page, Joslin takes readers through a highly encapsulated but effective experience of losing a loved one through death, grieving, and recovering. The richly colored rectangular paintings appear in various sizes on each spread and have flat, simplified forms. They show a young boy and girl who savor the seaside in the company of an older, white-haired woman. She then waves good-bye and sets sail on the ocean, leaving them sad and bewildered through a period of gray days and dark nights. Eventually, however, the children enjoy the sunny beach once again, and the sailing ship bearing their dear friend glides into a golden, tree-lined shore (Yet when the boat/has gone from view/its surely sailing/somewhere new). The entire image is expressive and lovely.Patricia Pearl Dole, formerly at First Presbyterian School, Martinsville, VA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A picture book for the very young that attempts to grapple with the sorrow of coping with the death of a loved one.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802851864
  • Publisher: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 3/28/1999
  • Pages: 28
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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