End of Something Wonderful : A Practical Guide to a Backyard Funeral
by Lucianovic, Stephanie V. W.; Ermos, George (ILT)






Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic's first book, Suffering Succotash: A Picky Eater's Quest to Understand Why We Hate the Foods We Hate, was published in 2012 by Perigee. The End of Something Wonderful is her debut picture book, and her second picture book, Hello, Star, will be released in 2020. She lives in Menlo Park, CA, with her two sons, two cats, and one husband.
 
George Ermos is an illustrator, maker, and avid reader from England. He works digitally and enjoys indulging in (and illustrating) all things curious and mysterious.





*Starred Review* At first glance, a guide to backyard funerals might seem morbid or glib-especially after viewing its lovely animal skeleton endpapers-but this picture book offers earnest advice to kids needing to say goodbye to a beloved pet, using language that is sympathetic but not euphemistic. Lucianovic refers to pets as a child's "Something Wonderful" and proceeds to offer step-by-step advice for burying, reminiscing, and grieving when Something Wonderful becomes Something Dead. The book opens with a two-page spread divided into four panels, each showing a kid discovering a deceased pet-a goldfish, a turtle, a guinea pig, and a pill bug. Next comes planning a funeral specialized to the pet. A touch of humor is integrated into the practical steps and digital illustrations: finding an appropriate box (such as a shoe box, rather than a Jack-in-the-box) and digging a small hole in the yard (a hippo-sized hole will require a city permit). But emotional expression also gets its due, validating being tongue-tied, sharing stories about the pet, crying, laughing, and even singing. Lucianovic reminds young readers that while a funeral is sad, "It's not the end of everything. You can always begin Something Wonderful again." This frank but tender guide offers consolation and hope to children as they cope with loss and move forward to bright, new (Wonderful) things. Grades 1-3. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.





*Starred Review* At first glance, a guide to backyard funerals might seem morbid or glib-especially after viewing its lovely animal skeleton endpapers-but this picture book offers earnest advice to kids needing to say goodbye to a beloved pet, using language that is sympathetic but not euphemistic. Lucianovic refers to pets as a child's "Something Wonderful" and proceeds to offer step-by-step advice for burying, reminiscing, and grieving when Something Wonderful becomes Something Dead. The book opens with a two-page spread divided into four panels, each showing a kid discovering a deceased pet-a goldfish, a turtle, a guinea pig, and a pill bug. Next comes planning a funeral specialized to the pet. A touch of humor is integrated into the practical steps and digital illustrations: finding an appropriate box (such as a shoe box, rather than a Jack-in-the-box) and digging a small hole in the yard (a hippo-sized hole will require a city permit). But emotional expression also gets its due, validating being tongue-tied, sharing stories about the pet, crying, laughing, and even singing. Lucianovic reminds young readers that while a funeral is sad, "It's not the end of everything. You can always begin Something Wonderful again." This frank but tender guide offers consolation and hope to children as they cope with loss and move forward to bright, new (Wonderful) things. Grades 1-3. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.





Several school-age children try to accept the deaths of their pets by holding backyard funeral ceremonies. This misguided attempt at bibliotherapy endeavors to help children in their understanding and acceptance of the death of a pet with an approach using dark humor and attempts at clever throwaway lines and situations. The cover illustration shows a dead turtle falling out of its burial box, and on the endpapers are skeletons of various pets, including dogs. Five diverse children are shown with their dead pets, including two fish, a turtle, a guinea pig, and a bug; these dead pets are collectively referred to as Something Dead. Funeral suggestions include various methods of burial or disposal along with ideas for telling stories about the dead pet, singing songs, and adding flowers to the grave. Two problematic warnings include a note to be sure the pet is actually dead before burying it and advice against digging up a deceased pet to check on it, while an overly cheerful conclusion shows one of the children eyeing a lobster at a fish market as a possible replacement for her dea d turtle. While the basic concepts of honoring a deceased pet with a memorial service are here, the overall flippant tone of the second-person text is not helpful to either prepare a child for an impending death or deal with the emotions following a loss. The death of a dog or cat, often a traumatic experience for the entire family, is avoided except for the skeletons on the endpapers. Not recommended, especially for anyone who's ever lost a beloved pet. (Picture book. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus 2019 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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