Book Review—A Little Blue Bottle

Children grieve when a loved one dies, and this new picture book provides assurance that they will be able to handle their sorrow.A young girl’s neighbor, a friend who had lived next door since before the girl was born, has died.

“Mrs. Wednesday died last Thursday,
or maybe the week before.
All I know is, ever since then,
nothing feels the same anymore.”

Children learn from the first page that it’s OK to be honest about their feelings. As the story moves forward, they see that not only can they acknowledge their feelings to themselves, they also can express them to other people in their lives.

From her mother, the girl learns how Mrs. Wednesday felt after Mr. Wednesday died, and that she sometimes held a little blue bottle and remembered Psalm 56:8:

“You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.”

Could God do that for her too? wonders the girl.

A Little Blue Bottle also models for adults how to help grieving children—and that sometimes just being close and present without saying a word is the greatest help. At the back of the book, “Best Practices for When a Child is Grieving” contains additional practical insights and suggestions.

This book keeps things real; on the last page the girl’s grief is still unresolved. In fact, the book ends just as it began. Grief is a process, not over in a day, but a process children can navigate with loving help. That’s what they need to know, and that’s what A Little Blue Bottle succeeds in telling them.

A Little Blue Bottle
written by Jennifer Grant, illustrated by Gillian Whiting
published by Church Publishing, Inc.
hardcover picture book, 40 pages, 8 x 0.5 x 10 inches

– Diane

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