(Picture book. 6-8, Wellbeck Publishing, March 2021)
The Biggest Thing of All
An elegant pairing of words and images gently tackles a difficult concept.
“The story’s message is gentle but poignant, and adults looking for ways to explain loss to children will find comfort and help within these pages.”
Lily helps Grandma maintain her garden alongside her parents and Grandpa. As they work, Grandma and Grandpa quietly teach Lily that everything is part of something greater, from one ant being part of a colony to one star being part of the universe. The lesson is learned but not considered until after Grandma has grown ill and died. The family mourns her loss, especially Lily, who initially takes her grief out on the dead autumn garden. While healing starts in winter, it’s not until the early days of spring that Lily appreciates how lives and spirits are also part of something greater. A summertime party celebrates Grandma, her memories, and love. The story’s message is gentle but poignant, and adults looking for ways to explain loss to children will find comfort and help within these pages. The delicate, pastel-hued illustrations have a warm glow that further enhances the message. A very brief backmatter note to adults may have some who are struggling to help children through loss wishing for more guidance, but readers will still appreciate the story and its message. Lily’s mother and grandparents present White while her father has dark hair and tan skin; Lily herself has skin a shade lighter than her father’s and straight, dark hair.