Sunday, November 15, 2020

Lovely picture books dealing with loss and change: "The Boy and the Gorilla" & "Rain Before Rainbows" [Review & Giveaway USA/CANADA]

The Boy and the Gorilla by Jackie Azua Kramer & illustrated by Cindy Derby (Hardcover ISBN: 9780763698324, Ages 4-8)

My thoughts:
Death can bring sorrow, grief, and lonliness at anytime and to anyone. It is hard to experience when one is an adult and even harder to experience the death of a loved one when you're a child and then to have the ability and opportunity to process that loved one's death.

The Boy and the Gorilla starts with the darkness and despondency of the death of a young boy's mother. They are leaving the gravesite and then are at home with people who are paying their respects. The colors and artwork are grey, black, blue and bespeak a heaviness of heart in the coloration and expressions.

As the story progresses this darkness expressed in the illustrations begins to brighten and give way to the promise of a brighter day ahead - slowly and surely.

As with children everywhere, this boy-child has an imaginary companion - "Gorilla." He is unobtrusive even with his massive size. He quietly responds to the statements and questions of "boy" with clearly stated truths. "Boy" seems to grasp the idea and comprehends.

This is a moving picture book that will help grieving adults reading to grieving children come to understand the reality of death, its inevitability for all living things, and how one can still have the lost loved one still with oneself in our activities, our thoughts, our memories.

A truly lovely book.

About the book: On the day of his mother’s funeral, a young boy conjures the very visitor he needs to see: a gorilla. Wise and gentle, the gorilla stays on to answer the heart-heavy questions the boy hesitates to ask his father: Where did his mother go? Will she come back home? Will we all die? Yet with the gorilla’s friendship, the boy slowly begins to discover moments of comfort in tending flowers, playing catch, and climbing trees. Most of all, the gorilla knows that it helps to simply talk about the loss—especially with those who share your grief and who may feel alone, too. Author Jackie AzĂșa Kramer’s quietly thoughtful text and illustrator Cindy Derby’s beautiful impressionistic artwork depict how this tender relationship leads the boy to open up to his father and find a path forward. Told entirely in dialogue, this direct and deeply affecting picture book will inspire conversations about grief, empathy, and healing beyond the final hope-filled scene.


Rain Before Rainbows by Smriti Prasadam-Halls & illustrated by David Litchfield (Hardcover ISBN: 9781536212839, Ages 4-8)

My thoughts:
The year 2020 has been frought with uncertainties, sadness, changes, troublesome issues, sadness, etc. Some have experienced great loss or unexpected trouble in a variety of ways. Children have lost the joy of childhood playing with others, school activities and associations. Just a hard year. You might say that, "2020 'rained on our parade'."

While Rain Before Rainbows was not written to help children deal with the issues of 2020, it certainly can help them realize that often there is the grey of a rainy day before the beauty of a bright, colorful rainbow.

The illustrations are stunning and beautifully present the evolution of beginning to ending of start to finish of night before bright day and so on.

An absolutely positive book with stunning illustrations and text that provides a hopeful and uplifting outlook on life. I heartily recommend. 

About the book: In this heartfelt story about courage, change, and moving on, a girl and her companion fox travel together away from a sorrowful past, through challenging and stormy times, toward color and light and life. Along the way they find friends to guide and support them, and when the new day dawns, it is full of promise. With gorgeous, richly realized illustrations and immense hope at its heart, Rain Before Rainbows holds out a ray of sunshine for anyone looking for light.

2 Winners, Each Win Both Books
Begins November 16
Ends December 12 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA & CANADA addresses
(NO P.O. Boxes. Canadian winners must provide phone number)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winners' prizes are provided and sent directly to the winner by publisher, Candlewick Press, or publicist.


  1. My kids would love these thank you for sharing and for the opportunity ❤️


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