Grandma's gone to live in the stars

Author Haynes, Max.
Language English
Morton Grove Ill.: Albert Whitman & Co., 2000


In the moments after grandmother has passed away, her spirit is at peace as she says goodbye to her sleeping family and her home.

Subjects :

  • Death
  • Fiction
  • Grandmothers

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Author Illustrator(s) :

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Best Books :

  • Booklist Book Review Stars, Dec. 1 American Library Association

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Reviews :

Carolyn Phelan (Booklist, Dec. 1, 2000 (Vol. 97, No. 7))
Every adult who turns to books to help children cope with death is looking for something different: the one volume that represents the individual's own beliefs, emotions, and aesthetics. Although no single selection can satisfy everyone, this unusual picture book will be a comforting and even moving choice for many children and adults. Grandma, who narrates the book, dies on the first page. The opening text appears in a sage green that looks fittingly wan against the lavender background: "I was so sick. So sick that I died. Now I feel . . . ." After the elision, the sentence finishes in white, which shines robustly from the same background: "wonderful. And now it's time to say goodbye." Grandmother seems to radiate light as she stops to say goodbye to her sleeping family members, the dog, the cat, the pictures she's painted, and (one last time) the children, before walking through the garden and rising over the town, above the earth, and into the stars. The tone of the book is matter-of-fact, the text is short and simple, and the artwork is luminous. A solid black line defines the figures and objects in the illustrations, except the form of the grandmother, which is drawn with a multicolored line reminiscent of crayon-resist art. Done on computer, the artwork creates surprisingly radiant effects on the page, while reflecting the understated, affectionate tone of the text. The illustrations convey not just the fact of death, but the mystery of it, the love that transcends it, and the wonder of it all. Category: Books for the Young--Fiction. 2000, Albert Whitman, $15.95. Ages 3-7. Starred Review
(PUBLISHER: Albert Whitman & Co. (Morton Grove Ill.:), PUBLISHED: c2000.)

Judy Chernak (Children's Literature)
The book jacket calls this "the simple, tender story of the death of a beloved grandmother," told by herself. It is described as a "serene and beautiful book" for all religious beliefs, with its "assurance that love remains forever," and "will be inexpressibly comforting to both children and adults who grieve." But I'm not impressed. Grandma dies but then comes back to say goodbye to everyone (the cat getting twice as much page space as anyone else). Grandma grows fainter by the page, and eventually sprouts wings that fly her to the sky where she transforms into a star. I can't buy this and wouldn't introduce it to children. Imagine answering the question, "But which star is Grandma? And where did her wings go? And why did she say goodbye to the cat on four pages but the dog on only one? And can we fly to her star in a space ship and visit someday?" I would prefer that the author/illustrator stick to his other jobs as designer of greeting cards, T-shirts and visual campaigns for companies, although his credits include eleven other books for children. 2000, Whitman, $15.95. Ages 3 to 6.
(PUBLISHER: Albert Whitman & Co. (Morton Grove Ill.:), PUBLISHED: c2000.)

Susie Wilde (Children's Literature)
Max Haynes' Grandma's Gone to Live in the Stars has a fascinating perspective. It is written from the point of view of a grandmother who grieves and celebrates as she dies. The book begins, "I was so sick. So l sick that I died. Now I feel...wonderful. And now it's time to say goodbye." The remainder of the book has minimal words, just goodbyes as she leaves family members, animals and favorite places. The illustrations show her colored clothing fading to pastel and then, in the last illustration, she is more white-toned than pastel as she soars above the earth and waves, Goodbye, Earth. On a twilight blue page illustrated with a night sky, she is not pictured; there are only the words, "Hello, Stars." The final illustration shows her family gazing up at the star that represents her. The few words leave lots of room for interpretations and discussions. 2000, Whitman, $15.95. Ages 4 to 8.
(PUBLISHER: Albert Whitman & Co. (Morton Grove Ill.:), PUBLISHED: c2000.)

S. Latson (Parent Council Volume 8)
A simple, yet profound picture book about death. The grandmother gently tells each sleeping family member goodbye, then says goodbye to earthly possessions and rises to the stars. The illustrations are whimsical and gentle and allow the reader to imagine life after death. If this view of death fits with your family's beliefs, then I would highly recommend it. 2000, Albert Whitman & Company, $15.95. Ages 3 to 8.
(PUBLISHER: Albert Whitman & Co. (Morton Grove Ill.:), PUBLISHED: c2000.)

Billie Loving (The Lorgnette - Heart of Texas Reviews (Vol. 13, No. 4))
Max Haynes probably wrote this: "In the moment after Grandmother has passed away, her spirit is in place as she says goodbye to her sleeping family at her home." GRANDMA'S GONE TO LIVE IN THE STARS is simply that--a goodbye. On most of the 24 pages, there are only two words. Ten pages have no writing. Some of those picture Grandmother saying goodbye to sleeping family, pets, or a picture on the wall--things she obviously loves. Most pages show the grandmother with wings and a peaceful look on her face as she says goodbye. Hopefully, the book will help children, especially, to accept the death of a loved one without too much pain. Haynes also did the illustrations. They will likely say to the reader that he is a child at heart. That is wonderful. Grades PreK-2. 2000, Whitman, Unpaged, $15.95. Ages 3 to 8.
(PUBLISHER: Albert Whitman & Co. (Morton Grove Ill.:), PUBLISHED: c2000.)

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Publication Details:

  Publisher ISBN Notes
Morton Grove Ill.: Albert Whitman & Co., 2000

Media Type: Language Material
1 v. (unpaged):
PZ7.H3149149 ([E])

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