Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Bad Bye, Good Bye, by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Jonathan Bean


If the military or other life changes have you relocating with young children, please check out Bad Bye, Good Bye.  I wish I’d had this book when the Navy moved our family several times within a year, including a two-month stint at Grandma’s.  By the third move, leaving was just too hard for my preschooler:  she refused to say the word “good-bye” anymore.  

It might have helped to read with her about what the little boy in Bad Bye, Good Bye was doing, seeing, and feeling.  Deborah Underwood’s books, with their very few well-chosen words, require us to explore, talk, and make our own observations.  Why is the boy pulling on the packing box the mover is taking away?  How does he feel when his friend is waving from the sidewalk as his family’s car pulls away?  How do his mom and dad feel?  Bad, bad, sad.  Even the clouds are gray . . .  After a nice long nap, though, things look different--kind of strange, but brighter.  New discoveries await, and some are very good.

To explore little ones’ feelings about a number of topics, Deborah Underwood has partnered with a variety of illustrators to create an array of picture books that look very different from each other.  Jonathan Bean’s bold colors and smears in Bad Bye, Good Bye reflect strong feelings and maybe a bit of confusion appropriate to moving, with its shades of change and loss.  The Quiet Book and The Christmas Quiet Book, on the other hand, feature soft blends of colors by Renata Liwska as fuzzy animals explore “coloring in the lines quiet” and “trying to stay awake quiet.” (These titles are also available in ebook, streaming video or DVD format.)   For a silly change of pace, Claudia Rueda illustrates Underwood’s Here Comes . . . Cat series (fill in Valentine, Santa, Tooth Fairy, or Easter) with a cartoonish cat who communicates with signs in a conversation with the reader about just how and why these holidays and characters go the way they do. 

More picture books about moving—or having friends move away—are plentiful at your Virginia Beach Public Library.  Children can work through feelings about moving with the girls in Rosa’s Room, by Barbara Bottner, and Where’s Jamela? by Niki Daly.  In Double Happiness, by Nancy Tupper Ling, thoughts in verse and pictures in bright colors convey the experience of a sister and brother as they move away from their relatives on the West Coast all the way to the East Coast.  

Review by Lynn K.

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