Life is very hard for children who are grieving. This book is written with those children in mind.
We meet the protagonist as she visits her mum in hospital. Mum’s folded red jumper is visible and a vase of daffodils sits on her locker. The bright yellow of the daffoldils informs the endpapers. Mum is sitting on the side of the bed, with her arms encircling the little girl. Their eyes are closed and the love between them is obvious. The story is told from the little girl’s perspective. We can see that she is a happy only child, loved by her parents. As they leave the hospital, she and her dad appear deep in thought. Apart from the reference to the hospital, there is nothing to prepare us, really, for the enormity of what is about to happen. And perhaps, for some children, the death of a parent comes as a bolt from the blue.
As the story unfolds, we realise how devastated the child is by the loss of her mum, and how, although surrounded by people, she feels alone and detached. Mum’s red jumper plays a role in helping her come to terms with her grief.
The Matisse-like illustations are superb. The use of strong lines and dark colour in the first half contrasts with a distinct lightening and brightening of tone and colour in the second. A solace for grieving children, this book will also be an important addition to resources for fostering empathy in non-bereaved children.