Monday, February 18, 2008

Title: Good-bye, Baby Max
Author: Diane Cantrell
Illustrator: Heather Castles
Publisher: Bridgeway Books
ISBN: 9781933538952
Genre: Children's Books/Illustrated Story

Good-bye, Baby Max is a beautifully written and equally (or more importantly) beautifully illustrated book for children in the suggested age group of 4 to 8 years. For the children in the younger part of this age group, the parents or elder children and other care givers can help in reading and also deal with the emotions that may arise.

Story outline from the back cover: Mrs. B's class excitedly awaits the birth of three baby chicks. When Max is unable to crack open his shell, the children's loving teacher assists them in expressing their feelings of loss and planning a special good-bye.

An excerpt:

Silence falls over the room.
Liz and Rob begin to cry.
"Don't worry," says Mrs. B.
"We will find a way to say good-bye."

"We had a funeral for grandma!" Riley exclaims.
"Maybe for Max we could do the same?"
Jeremy joins in. "We had a memorial for Uncle Jim.
People sang songs and told stories about him."
So they plan a funeral to have the next day,
With songs and prayers and kind words to say.

End of excerpt.

The illustrations are beautiful and help to invoke the right feelings.

The book tells children some important things about life: Life is a struggle and everyone doesn't make it. It is OK to cry and mourn those who fail and fall down. But life is about accepting the loss and moving on and seeing the emergence of new life.

The children can be encouraged to read, explore and analyze the emotions that well up.

The book has A Note to Parents and Educators from the author, which puts the story in the right perspective.

The book is edited and printed well.

I would have liked to see the book in a CD form with the story set to music. I hope the publishers will think of bringing it out even now.

DIANE CANTRELL is a former kindergarten teacher who currently works as a Licensed Professional Counselor and Life Coach. Diane lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband, Rich, and their three dogs.

HEATHER CASTLES is a children’s book illustrator who likes inchworms, dandelion puffs, and leopard print purses. Heather and her husband, Ben, live in Australia.

S.V. Swamy is an avid reader, editor, author and reviewer with a small child in his heart.

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