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The Tenth Good Thing About Barney Paperback – September 30, 1987


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The Tenth Good Thing About Barney + Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children + I Miss You: A First Look at Death (First Look at Books)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 6
  • Lexile Measure: 490L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (September 30, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689712030
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689712036
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 8.2 x 0.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,611 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

My cat Barney died this Friday. I was very sad. My mother said we could have a funeral for him, and I should think of ten good things about Barney so I could tell them....

But the small boy who loved Barney can only think of nine. Later, while talking with his father he discovers the tenth -- and begins to understand.

About the Author

Judith Viorst was born and brought up in New Jersey, graduated from Rutgers University, moved to Greenwich Village, and has lived in Washington, DC, since 1960, when she married Milton Viorst, a political writer. They have three sons and seven grandchildren. Viorst writes in many different areas: science books, children’s picture books, adult fiction and nonfiction, poetry for children and adults, and musicals, which are still performed on stages around the country. She is best known for her beloved picture book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Erik Blegvad was born in Denmark and studied at the School of Applied Arts in Copenhagen. Mr. Blegvad has illustrated more than one hundred children's books, including Twelve Tales by Hans Christian Andersen, Riddle Road by Elizabeth Spires, Hurry, Hurry, Mary Dear! by N. M. Bodecker, and Sea Clocks: The Story of Longitude by Louise Borden. The Blegvads divide their time between England, France, and Wardsboro, Vermont.

More About the Author

Judith Viorst has written many books for children, including the classics Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and its sequels, and If I Were in Charge of the World and Other Stories. She is also the author of Just in Case, illustrated by Diana Cain Bluthenthal. She lives with her husband, Milton, in Washington D.C.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 67 customer reviews
This book is excellent to help children deal with the loss of a beloved, pet cat.
Jill M. Campisi
Their daughters are only two and one year old, so I think the book was most helpful more for my son and his wife.
sally
Afterwards, when they plant flowers, he can come up with the tenth good thing about Barney.
Judith E. Pavluvcik

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 69 people found the following review helpful By BookJunkie on June 19, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The little boy who is the narrator of this book has just had his pet cat Barney die. He can only think of nine good things about Barney, until the day after the funeral, when he spends the day in the garden with his father. The plot is extremely simple and spare, but the book depicts grief very well, and so we understand just how broken-hearted the little boy is, and how much he loved his cat. The Tenth Good Thing About Barney is an excellent springboard for families of every religious persuasion (including agnostics and atheists) to discuss what they feel happens after we die. The book helps children put into words many questions that they might be too young to articulate, and helps parents answer them for him as best you can. The writing is excellent, and perfectly captures the voice of a young boy, and the illustrations are elegant. It's a classic book, and belongs in every library.
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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Judith E. Pavluvcik on September 17, 2001
Format: School & Library Binding
This book is absolutely, without a doubt, a great book for younger children to cope with the loss of a pet. This book, however, would not be appropriate for the loss of a human life. The author lets the reader know that it is OK to feel sad, to not want to watch TV, or to eat or to go outside and play. But most important of all, that it is OK to cry and feel sad.
The mother and father hold a backyard funeral for Barney, the beloved deceased cat, and the little boy comes up with nine good things to say about Barney. Afterwards, when they plant flowers, he can come up with the tenth good thing about Barney.
Older children will find this too �babyish�, I believe, but this book was perfect for my younger children when our beloved dog, Snowball died. Our vet gave us this book, along with the Rainbow Bridge poem. It was very comforting.
The book conveys that we have to honor the grieving and the questions of children as they mourn their beloved pet, whether it is a fish, a dog, a cow, a horse, or whatever pet is important to them. The value of a �ceremony� is just as important for closure.
I highly recommend this tender book.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 12, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Judith Viorst has written a lovely and touching look at death from the perspective of a child. Though dealing with the death of a pet, it helps children deal with the reality of any death. I can't read it out loud without crying myself; but then, children need to know we feel sad sometimes, too, and it's okay.
This book does not have religious overtones, so it can be used by families with all different sets of beliefs. It addresses the feelings children have when faced by loss, and how we all deal with those feelings, learn from them, and grow.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Eden Rush on December 3, 2004
Format: Paperback
As a veterinary technician who regularly assisted in euthanasia procedures, I kept kept copies of this book on hand to distribute to families with children. Years later I'm working as a teacher and still love it. In contrast to other reviewer comments that the book is morbid, I find the underlying message hopeful - that our bodies are part of a natural cycle and that death gives rise to new life. The language is simple, elegant and understandable even for young children. If you have family pets and have not yet experienced a loss, buy this book ahead of time. You'll appreciate having it on that day when inevitable death comes calling.
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60 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Claire McCarthy on April 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
When our third child died, my husband and I looked for books to help us talk with our older children, then 5 and 4, about death, and this book was recommended to us. It's a really nice book if a pet has died, but since the tenth good thing is that as Barney rots he helps the flowers grow, it's not the best for dealing with the death of a person--the thought of a loved one rotting can be really disturbing for a child.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 24, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The Tenth Good thing about Barney was such a wonderful book, when I was Little. I used to have the tape of it. Barney was a cat and he died last friday. Mother consoled the small boy who loved Barney, by encouraging him to think of ten good things about him. But the boy that loved Barney could only think of nine. So after the funeral, he thought of the tenth good thing, which was that Barney was helping to grow a flower. Mom bought me a copy of this book after my pet fish Frank died. And then we later bought an identical copy after my cousin's pet dog Cindy died. I hope they continue to make it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By L. Kinnaman on December 13, 2008
Format: Paperback
I was frantic when our 2 family cats died within 3 months of each other. Our daughter was 3 years old at the time and I didn't know how to explain death to her. This book was sensitive to grief issues but also allowed for discussion about what happens after death, since no one really knows. The table scene with the kids is classic kid behavior depicting how kids deal with tough issues by being kids!

We planted a rosemary bush above our cats and it has become a prolific supplier of fresh rosemary. Four years later and my daughter loves to go to the rosemary bush and harvest rosemary for family and friends. We feel that truth and giving, to the earth, to others, is a very important family value and that if we fertilize the ground, then we continue to give life to other living things. It may be blunt and too graphic for some, but it has been wonderful for our family, even after a grandparent has died.
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