Enchanted Lion Books
Rating: 5 stars
A picture book about death?
That's not something you see everyday. But this exceptional, unique book by Glenn Ringtved is worth noting for the sad moment your child needs to say good-bye to a loved one in his or her life. There is magic within these pages, because the delivery of this message could easily have gone wrong had it not gone perfectly right.
Here's the story:
"In the far north" (love that this could take place anywhere), a beloved grandmother and her four grandchildren lived together for many years. Now, they had a visitor. The four children knew the visitor was Death. ("Not wanting to frighten the children, the visitor had left his scythe outside the door.")
The four knew about Death. They understood he had come for their grandmother, who lay ill in her bedroom. They tried to trick him into leaving without her, but Death sat patiently and quietly at the table while the children poured him cup after cup of coffee. Finally, Death "placed his bony hand over his cup to signal 'No more.'"
And here's where the tale goes from interesting to beautiful...
Death wanted the children to understand why he'd come, and so he said, "I would like to tell you a story." He told the children a story of two brothers named Sorrow and Grief who moved about in their gloomy lives until they came across two sisters named Joy and Delight, whose moods were always bright and sunny. Soon, Sorrow and Delight fell in love with each other, and Grief and Joy did the same. The four lived in their two houses on a hill until they were all old and gray, then they died on the same day because they could not live without each other.
"'It is the same with life and death,' Death said, 'What would life by worth if there were no death? Who would enjoy the sun if it never rained? Who would yearn for day if there were no night?'"
|Death said quietly, "Cry, Heart, but never break. |
Let your tears of grief and sadness help begin new life."
This was such a surprising, moving, beautiful book. Hopefully you will not need it in your life anytime soon, but...when Death inevitably and necessarily comes, perhaps it is a good one to read with your children.
When our dog died this past Spring, I was shocked by how sad I was! But watching my children meet Grief for the first time was gut-wrenching in another way. While she was only and wonderfully just a dog, Lulu gave my kids a tiny taste of how things have a way of balancing each other in this life of ours. For better or for worse, life is a combination of the best and the worst. That's what keeps it interesting, that's what keeps it worthwhile.