Remembering Crystal

Overview

A beautifully written and illustrated book that introduces a big subject to little ones

Crystal had lived in the garden for many years. She was growing old. Zelda was just starting out in life. They were best friends. They read books together. They took trips together. And they talked about everything. But one day Crystal was not in the garden. She had died. In this gentle story, children learn, with Zelda, that true friendship is a gift ...

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Overview

A beautifully written and illustrated book that introduces a big subject to little ones

Crystal had lived in the garden for many years. She was growing old. Zelda was just starting out in life. They were best friends. They read books together. They took trips together. And they talked about everything. But one day Crystal was not in the garden. She had died. In this gentle story, children learn, with Zelda, that true friendship is a gift that doesn’t die.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This affecting, small-format import from Switzerland simply yet eloquently addresses the loss of a loved one and the enduring nature of friendship. Zelda is a young goose who loves spending time with her best friend Crystal, an aging turtle who “had lived in the garden for many years.” On faintly dappled, parchment-like pages, spare pictures tinged with humor show the two happily swimming, perusing a map on a trip (Crystal travels strapped to Zelda’s back), and perched on a swing in the moonlight. When one day Zelda cannot find her friend, the other geese straightforwardly explain, “She had a long and happy life. Now it was time for her to die.” As she searches for Crystal and recalls “all the good times they had shared,” Zelda’s denial gives way to acceptance. She feels lonely and sad, yet realizes that Crystal “would always be with her wherever she went, right there in her heart.” Though readers may not view the final image of the goose and turtle embracing through dry eyes, Loth steers clear of sentimentality in a story that’s both candid and tender. Ages 3-up. (May)
Children's Literature - Phyllis Kennemer
Zelda was a lucky young goose because she had a good friend, an elderly turtle named Crystal. The friends spend time together every day. They read books; they go swimming; they take imaginary trips; and they talk about everything. Zelda shares her fears and her dreams. But one day, Crystal is not in the garden when Zelda arrives. The other young geese try to explain that Crystal has died. She was old and she enjoyed a long and happy life. Zelda moves stubbornly into denial. At first she thinks the other geese are hiding Crystal and then she decides Crystal has gone on a trip. Zelda packs a satchel and goes searching. Crystal is not atop the highest mountain; she is not in the deepest ocean; she is not underground or high in the sky. Crystal cannot be found. Zelda stops looking and remembers all the special things Crystal taught her, including an appreciation for music and art and the world. Zelda goes back to the garden. Even though she is lonely and sad, she knows that Crystal will live on in her heart. The softly colored illustrations contribute compassion and humor. A good choice to help young children deal with the concept of death. Reviewer: Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Crystal, an old tortoise, and Zelda, a goose, are best friends. They have traveled together and shared their fears, hopes, and dreams. When Crystal disappears from the garden and it's evident that she has died, the young goose revisits their friendship and discovers that loved ones live on in our hearts. Charming but static pen-and-ink drawings of the characters capture the essence of the short narrative sentences, though Loth's depictions of abstract concepts like "fear" and "dreams" do nothing to extend the text. More a greeting card than a book, this offering addresses a tough subject, but fails to develop the characters enough to be fully engaging. Alan Durant's Always and Forever (Harcourt, 2004) is a better choice.—Lisa Egly Lehmuller, St. Patrick's Catholic School, Charlotte, NC
Kirkus Reviews
Friendship can live forever. Crystal the elderly turtle and Zelda the young goose are the best of friends. They read books together, swim together and share their fears and dreams. One day, when Zelda goes to the garden to meet her, Crystal's not there. The other geese try to explain to young Zelda about aging and death, but Zelda doesn't believe them. She wanders the world looking for Crystal and in the process remembers all her golden times with her friend, learning to treasure these memories. Loth's spare and often funny compositions (in 28 two-page spreads) and use of cream-colored negative space add depth and warmth to his simple story of loss and consolation. When Zelda looks for Crystal "in the deepest ocean," readers see her with her head stuck in a water barrel; when she remembers Crystal teaching her "about the world," she has draped herself over a globe. The wee trim, only 6.25 inches high and 8.5 inches wide when closed, adds to the sweet intimacy of this little gem. This simple, honest presentation deserves room on the shelf. (Picture book. 3-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780735823006
  • Publisher: North-South Books, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/1/2010
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 987,611
  • Age range: 3 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

SEBASTIAN LOTH’s love of literature came early and he began writing poems and short stories while still at school. A banker and an economist as well as a writer and illustrator, he lives near Cologne, Germany

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