Top critical review
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Beautiful sentiment, less than stellar delivery.
on December 15, 2016
I was actually disappointed in this book after a few years of people recommending it. I had hoped to add it to my collection of grief books for children and have it blow me away because I kept hearing such great things about it. Some things are great about it, but if I had flipped through it in a store, I don't think I would have bought it.
It's incredibly important to me that children's feelings are acknowledged, allowed, and assured that their feelings are normal, healthy to express, and that we value their rights to feel them. It's also important to me that children know they have an adult in their life that they can go to for help, to feel safe, that can handle their big emotions, and just to be there for them if they need them.
The first pages of this book immediately belittle, ignore, and tell the kids it's not OK to feel scared during a thunderstorm (it's just a thunderstorm, it's nothing to be scared of - um, I'm mid 30's and thunder still scares me!) and that they shouldn't go to their mom when they're scared, instead relying on this invisible string connection.
I would have loved to see the mom acknowledge their feelings as acceptable and introduced the invisible string as a way to help them when they truly can't get to her as a reminder that they're connected always, even when they can't be together. Instead, it came across as not wanting them to come to her for something as silly as fear of thunder. It was just disappointing and made me feel sad for the kids. If you want that invisible connection when you aren't there, you gotta work on the actual connection first!
In case anyone is curious, there is a mention of an uncle that died and is in heaven, so keep that in mind. I was surprised by that only because people consistently told me the book isn't about grief/connection to the dead. I actually took so long to buy it because it wasn't a book for grief around a death and those are the types of books I need. But I did I buy this book to help a 7 year old with the murder of her previous kindergarten teacher. I loved the idea of this to help her deal with this horrific death and help her sweet little heart heal a little, but I would hate for her to get the idea that fears or other feelings shouldn't be expressed or that she shouldn't seek out help from trusted adults so I haven't let her borrow it yet. Darn those pesky few beginning pages!!!! If those weren't in it, I would like this book a lot more.
The sentiment is absolutely beautiful, but the delivery was unfortunately not so great.