From School Library Journal
Gr 3-6–Harvey feels invisible. No one ever really notices him. His younger, taller brother is the one who stands out. Harvey spends most his days racing toothpicks along street corners against the neighborhood children. When he comes home one day to find that his father has died of a heart attack, he discovers that he is the one person who can help his brother understand their family's tragedy. Harvey's first-person perspective captures the grief and innocence of a child's greatest loss. The muted watercolor-inspired style is dark and sad, emotionally appropriate without being too over the top. Many pages are without text. For example, when the crowd outside Harvey's house slowly scatters after the ambulance departs, several pages are devoted to showing his mother standing outside their home alone. While the overall melancholy feel of this title might leave many children depressed, it is a great graphic novel to give to a younger child trying to understand the pain of bereavement.–Ryan Donovan, New York Public Libraryα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
In this Canadian graphic novel, a young boy comes home from playing to see his father being wheeled out of the house on a gurney after suffering a fatal heart attack. His mother fades into her room and isolation, and he slides into the enormous task of taking on grief that is simply too large to fully grasp. Nadeau’s charcoally, naïf-style artwork has the loose-figured feel of a child’s drawings that belies its sophistication, especially apparent in two standout sequences that add tiny notes of humor and humanity to the melancholy story. In the first, Harvey remembers the film The Incredible Shrinking Man, providing a piercing reflection of his own inner state. In the second, Harvey listens and records in pictures what people say about his father at the funeral, getting carried away as “tight in the collar” gives way to “waffle topped” and “crackly complexioned.” Although adults may be more attuned to the complex portrayal of being bowled over by catastrophic loss, for children this open-ended book is deserving of discussion, difficult though it may be. Grades 5-8. --Ian Chipman