From School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-A powerful combination of childlike drawings, rendered in watercolor and crayon, and minimal text provides an extraordinary look at the impact of his mother's death on a young boy. "Some time ago we said good-bye to Mommy. I am not sure where she has gone," he says. The boy looks for her behind the sofa, under the bed, and in the yard, but finds only her belongings. He experiences fear, worry that his misdeeds might have caused her to leave, and even anger: "The other children have THEIR moms. It's not fair." When the child wonders when Mommy is coming back, his father, tears streaming down his face, explains that "when someone has died they cannot come back. . . ." Between the opening spread depicting rain-soaked mourners donned in black and holding black umbrellas at the graveside, and the final one showing the boy, still clutching his mom's sweater, but now shown in a flower-filled garden, readers see him, his father, and his sister gradually moving on with their lives. The tears still flow as they view old photos, and the boy still laments, "I really miss my mommy," but there are brighter moments of shared memories and household chores as well, and the boy's consoling conviction that just as he was special to his mom, "she will always be special to me." This honest treatment of death and loss can spark discussion and provide answers and comfort to young children who experience the loss of a loved one.-Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CTα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This book tackles the excruciatingly difficult subject of young children who have lost a parent. There is no adult voice dispensing advice here, only the writing and drawings of the grieving child himself. The boy simply states his feelings throughout: “Some time ago we said good-bye to Mommy. I am not sure where she has gone.” The narrator moves from bewilderment (he searches the house for Mommy) to anger (kicking around his train set) to feeling guilty (he must have done something wrong) to being jealous of children who still have their mothers. Except for occasional sophisticated elements—umbrellas at the funeral or the gate at the cemetery—Cobb’s illustrations maintain the scribble-outside-the-lines aesthetic of child drawings. The resolution is not easy and involves plenty of tears. Still, though, this little boy might give voice to others enduring such a loss. Preschool-Grade 2. --Connie Fletcher