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Goodbye Mousie

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Overview

One morning a boy finds that his pet, Mousie, won't wake up. The truth is Mousie has died. At first the boy doesn't believe it. He gets very mad at Mousie for dying, and then he feels very sad. But talking about Mousie, burying Mousie in a special box, and saying good-bye helps this boy begin to feel better about the loss of his beloved pet.

A boy grieves for his dead pet Mousie, helps to bury him, and begins to come to terms with ...

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Overview

One morning a boy finds that his pet, Mousie, won't wake up. The truth is Mousie has died. At first the boy doesn't believe it. He gets very mad at Mousie for dying, and then he feels very sad. But talking about Mousie, burying Mousie in a special box, and saying good-bye helps this boy begin to feel better about the loss of his beloved pet.

A boy grieves for his dead pet Mousie, helps to bury him, and begins to come to terms with his loss.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Publishers Weekly, starred review Immensely reassuring.

Kirkus Reviews Not since The Truth About Barney has there been such an affecting and satisfying story about the death of a pet.

New York Times Book Review Harris writes clearly and matter-of-factly about death.

School Library Journal An excellent choice to help young readers deal with loss.

Publishers Weekly
In our Best Books citation, PW wrote, "Harris's sensitively rendered narrative successfully tackles a child's first encounter with death, through the eyes of a preschool-age boy. Fluid pencil lines underscore the vulnerability of the boy and the poignancy of his story." Ages 4-8. (Nov.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly
Harris (It's Perfectly Normal) and Ormerod (Miss Mouse Takes Off) admirably and successfully tackle a child's first encounter with death, through the loss of a beloved pet. "When I woke up this morning, I tickled Mousie's tummy. But Mousie didn't wake up," says the unnamed narrator, a preschool-age boy. Author and artist both possess an acute sense of the boy's emotional trajectory. After his first outpouring of grief and anger (which Ormerod depicts in a stunning facial close-up), the boy focuses on preparations for Mousie's funeral, busily filling the coffin with mementos and then decorating it with "wiggly stripes." But his composure crumbles when he discovers a piece of toast missing from his plate: "Where did it go? Did it die too?" Acceptance finally comes after he and his parents bury Mousie, and it is authentically childlike: "So, maybe someday, I'll get another mouse," the boy says, stretched across the floor and contemplatively dawdling with Mousie's exercise wheel. "But not just yet." The artist's fluid pencil lines underscore the vulnerability of the boy and the poignancy of his story. Uplifting details (the boy's mouse slippers, a stuffed mouse toy) offer a glimmer of hope, and the solidity at the heart of her characterizations especially in the portraits of the narrator seeking comfort from his parents will be immensely reassuring to young readers. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
One morning when a child tickles his pet Mousie's chin, Mousie won't wake up. Daddy tells him that Mousie is dead. The child insists Mousie is just sleeping and will wake up soon. Daddy explains that dead is very different from sleeping. The child says he's angry at Mousie and tears follow his anger. Daddy comforts him and they talk about why Mousie died. Then they make plans to bury the little pet. Mommy gives the child a shoebox to bury Mousie in. He decides to tuck in a bit of food, a toy car, a crayon and toy ring so Mousie won't be bored, and a picture of himself so Mousie won't be lonely. He decorates the box by painting on bright wiggly stripes. Mommy digs a hole for the shoebox and lights two sparklers on the grave. The child cries a bit then tells Mousie that he is mad and sad and will miss him—a eulogy of sorts. After the funeral the child thinks about the fact the mouse is dead and maybe someday he will get another mouse. "But not just yet." This book effectively captures the experience of what happens when a loved one dies. The child goes through anger, denial, grief and acceptance and his parents gently help him understand and deal with what happened. This well-told story would be quite helpful when one needs to explain death to a child. 2001, Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster's Children's Publishing Division, $16.00. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer:Janet Crane Barley
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-An honest and ultimately comforting look at the death of a pet. When Mousie doesn't wake up one morning, his young owner at first refuses to believe that the animal is dead. After listening to his father's gentle comments, the boy finally realizes the truth, reacting first with anger, then with sadness, and then with questions about why the mouse died. With the help of his parents, the youngster places his pet in a shoebox, tucks an old T-shirt around him, and then carefully chooses several special items to keep him company. He tapes the box shut, decides that it looks too plain, and decorates it with swirling painted lines. Outside, after he and his parents bury the shoebox, he cries a bit and then says good-bye to his friend. By the final double-page spread, he has found some closure and acknowledges that Mousie won't be coming back. He thinks about getting another mouse, "But not just yet." Told from the boy's point of view, the straightforward story genuinely captures the voice of a young child, and accurately reflects a natural grieving process. Set against pleasing buff-colored backgrounds, the artwork, done in black-pencil line and watercolor washes, echoes the emotional nuances of the story. Featuring soft lines and subdued shades, Ormerod's understated art suits the subject matter, and the pictures express the child's changing feelings without upstaging or overpowering them. An excellent choice to help young readers deal with loss.-Joy Fleishhacker, formerly at School Library Journal Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A little boy's pet mouse dies, and he and his family cope, in this gently done true-life tale by a team that has such an elegant grasp of the workings of the minds and hearts of children. A little boy fiercely denies that his pet mouse is dead, despite his father's remonstrations, and then he gets mad at Mousie, and finally sad. The boy and his parents put Mousie in a box with some of his favorite things-carrots, a piece of jam toast, and a toy or two-and make a headstone for him out of driftwood. Readers can hear the boy working things out for himself, that Mousie won't ever come back, that grief and longing are what he feels. And in the last frame, where he plays with Mousie's wheel and a toy mouse while wearing his mouse slippers, he thinks about getting another mouse-"But not just yet." Ormerod makes her images from a close-up, child-high perspective, with a fresh, clean palette: her headshot of the child bawling wildly at the realization of the truth of Mousie's demise is touching and tender, as is the gentle comfort of his father. Not since The Tenth Good Thing About Barney (1971) has there been such an affecting and satisfying story about the death of a pet. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689871344
  • Publisher: Aladdin
  • Publication date: 10/26/2004
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 308,045
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Jan Ormerod (1946–2013) was an award-winning author who grew up in Western Australia. As a child Jan drew constantly, and she eventually went on to attend art school and study drawing, painting, and sculpture. During her career Jan published more than fifty books, including Sunshine, Lizzie Nonsense, Water Witcher, and Maudie and Bear. Her work, which resonated with young children and adults alike, won many prestigious awards and received much acclaim.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2008

    Great for Preschoolers

    I read this story to a preschool class that recently lost their teacher unexpectedly. Many of the children could relate the loss of their pets to the recent loss of their teacher. It was a great story for some of them to begin to share there feelings, thoughts, and ideas about death.

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