By Todd Parr. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2015. 32 pages. $17/hardcover; $9.99/eBook. Recommended for ages 2–5.
The Goodbye Book by Todd Parr can be summed up in one word: simplicity. It is simple words and simple colors that deal with a not so simple emotion. The story is about loss and loneliness presented in Parr’s unique way that allows children to identify on any level of loss, be it of a pet, object, or close family member.
The Goodbye Book offers children a bright look at a common painful life experience. Using a primary-colored fish, Parr dives deep into the world of emotions. In the story, a tiny fish loses a friend. The reader is taken through trauma and on to healing. This dynamic picture book explores loss and loneliness in terms that a very young child can relate to while getting to the heart of what we all experience when a loved one has gone away. Through this book, we are reminded that all subjects, when presented in an appropriate way, can be suitable for children. Parr successfully presents this difficult subject in a way that helps children understand, grow, and love again. It names the actions one might take when experiencing loss and describes the healing process in an age-appropriate way.
Parr is famous for his colorful books that engage our aesthetic and sense of play. He is an award-winning author and illustrator of over 30 books including several New York Times bestsellers. His signature style is bright, bold colored illustrations with simple language that tell a heartfelt story. Children with no reading skills will find the book engaging. Pre-readers will be able to sound out some of the words and fill in what they don’t know with imagination. Readers will be able to confidently go through the book.