The Day For Saying Goodbye
The Funeral by Matt James, published by Groundwood Books is a fabulous book about the questions about life and death when a loved one passes on.
Norma is really excited because she gets a day off school and gets to hang out with her favourite cousin Ray, the caveat is, they get to hang out at Great-Uncle Frank’s funeral. She practices her sad face, even though she really isn’t sad. Norma is really looking forward to spending the day with Ray and is not really sure what the whole funeral thing is about.
Matt James’ art in this book is so incredible! It’s colourful and expressive and big. The vibrant colours and bold lines make The Funeral a equally great as a read aloud or for a little cuddle. The art in the story conveys all Norma's feelings: the questioning, the impatience, the fun. I love how Matt James calls the day of the funeral, “the day for saying goodbye”. What a lovely way to explain a funeral. Norma’s constant squirming during the service was very familiar. I totally related to her feelings, remembering the times I was stuck in church every Sunday. Norma has questions about Uncle Frank throughout the story to help her make sense of his passing and understand death. In the end she has a lovely day out with her cousin and finally says, “I think Uncle Frank would have liked his funeral.” Matt James has found an incredibly kind and gentle way of explaining one of the very tough things we will have to one day explain to our children. The Funeral is a fantastic resource for parents when confronted with the topic of death.