“…Losing a friend to a move is a familiar experience for children and adults alike, and this story will resonate with readers. Readers will relate to Ben’s unwillingness to say goodbye and his inclination to hide away and remember the fun times he and Peter had together. However, after being given some time and space to process his complicated emotions, Ben emerges ready to connect with his supportive family and consider the possibility of new friendships. The text of the story is accessible and simple…The text also accurately captures the thoughts and feelings of a young child dealing with a sad life change.
The illustrations by Kim LaFave in this story appear to be a combination of drawn and computer-generated, and they strongly support the text They are colourful and engaging, and the facial expressions on the characters are expressive. They also add depth and undertone to the text that is not there without them. For example, when the text describes Ben retreating under the table, he is said to have a club, a pointed stick, and a tame lion. Readers will see though through the illustrations that these are really a flashlight, a pencil, and a stuffed lion. The cave drawings that Ben appears to draw are also excellent, depicting a world of fancy and imagination perfect for a creative child. The entire feel of the pages with his drawings is completely different from the feel of the illustrations in the rest of the book, which serves the story well. It is also an interesting device to watch the progression of Ben’s stuffed lion in the book go from neglected toy to his only friend to security blanket.
…Ben Says Goodbye would be a good purchase for public libraries and school libraries that serve children in the preschool/kindergarten age group.
—Carla Epp is a hospital librarian with the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.
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