Book Title: Mum's Jumper (available here)
Author/Illustrator: Jayde Perkin
Publisher: Book Island
Publication Date: August 2019
Most Suitable For: Any age of child who is dealing with the loss of a close loved one. The loss of a parent is a monumental thing and this book seems appropriate for a child in that situation - it is not a general ‘read aloud to the class' book.
Reviewed by: Jane Carter, Senior Lecturer in Primary Education
This is the book I would want to be in the hands of my child if she were to experience the loss of someone she loved. It is a story of grief that manages to hold the complexity of the feelings of a child and her dad alongside the rawness of those emotions in a simple and perfect way.
It is a beautiful book in so many aspects. The illustrations convey huge emotion, from the pictures of the adults at the funeral, to the illustrations of the child’s friends trying to be kind, to the black cloud of grief that hangs on her back and at times threatens to engulf her. The narrative offers wise words, avoiding simple platitudes and easy answers and explanations. I particularly found the words of adults, interpreted by the child to be insightful. Just after her mum’s death the child says, “Everyone would say, “I’m sorry.” But it wasn’t their fault.”
The child in the story finds comfort in her mum’s jumper. She muses why her mum left it behind, as she loved it so much. The child wears the jumper all of the time – the smell of her mum merging with her own smell. Her dad explains that grief is like the jumper – it stays the same size but she will grow into it – so the grief never goes away or diminishes, it is just that everything else grows around it.
Book Island are to be congratulated for publishing such a fine book on a subject not often explored well in children’s literature. Too often books about grief feature animals or are so opaque that only an adult realises they are about the loss of a loved on. I think this is a ‘must have’ for every teacher: kept in the cupboard for the time when someone in the class may need it.
Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Review Panel member Jane for reviewing it.
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