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Saying Good-bye to Grandma

Saying Good-bye to Grandma

by Marcia Sewall (Illustrator), Jane Resh Thomas

Susie is curious about what will happen when she travels with her parents to attend her grandmother's funeral in the small town where her mother grew up.


Susie is curious about what will happen when she travels with her parents to attend her grandmother's funeral in the small town where her mother grew up.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A true picture, both happy and sad, of the experience." School Library Journal, Starred
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Told from the point of view of a seven-year-old named Suzie, this tenderly rendered story explores the rituals of death and the loss of a loved one. When Grandma passes away, Suzie and her parents take a bittersweet car trip back to the small seaside town where Mom and Dad grew up so they can attend Grandma's funeral and be with relatives. Feeling simultaneously nervous, curious, sad and afraid, Suzie soon discovers that funerals are a family kind of time, filled with laughter and tears and a lot of love. Thomas's sensitive and straightforward story line follows Suzie and her family as they say goodbye to Grandma at the funeral home (where Suzie and her cousins ease the tension by playing a game of ``capture the flag'' in the room where the caskets are stored), attend funeral and burial services the following day and mingle with family members and friends at the huge buffet meal served afterward at the church. The text is complemented by Sewall's primitive pastel illustrations, with simple, telling forms that convey the full emotional range of the day; this candid and comforting tale will help readers of all ages cope with the complex fears and emotions that coincide with a death in the family. Ages 6-9. (September)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3 In this exceptionally sensible and sensitive examination of a young girl's feelings about the death and funeral of her grandmother, Suzie's experiences are both typical and individualized. Suzie and her parents gather with the relatives, where the children swim and play as usual and are surprised that the grownups can't seem to eat their meals and that Grandpa cries during the night. Suzie is afraid that the funeral is what will make her grandmother truly dead and gone forever. Her apprehensions are soothed with gentle understanding by her parents, however, and she is able to participate in all of the necessary rituals of saying goodbye. Treasured memories of the dead person are shared; grief is freely expressed; and plans are made for the future: Suzie will visit Grandpa next summer and learn to cook and fish. The first-person narrative is exactly as it should be: natural, simple, and understanding. The child's need to run and play is perfectly blended with her intense moments of sorrow and bewilderment. The tone is matter-of-fact and reassuring. Life is changed, but it goes on. The warm-hued pastel illustrations have touches of humor and plenty of lively activity to help ameliorate the somberness of the occasion, but they are always appropriate. The figures, done in quick, simple strokes, are full of expressive personality. A true picture, both happy and sad, of the experience. Patricia Pearl, First Presbyterian School, Martinsville, Va.

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.81(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)
700L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Marcia Sewall, the author and illustrator of many award-winning picture books, is a lifelong resident of New England.

Jane Resh Thomas has written more than a dozen fiction and nonfiction books for young readers, including the highly praised BEHIND THE MASK for Clarion. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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