Cry, heart, but never break

Glenn Ringtved, 1968-

Book - 2016

When Death comes to take their grandmother away, he shares a story with four siblings that helps them realize the value of loss and the importance of being able to say goodbye.

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Location Call Number   Status
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Subjects
Genres
Picture books
Published
New York : Enchanted Lion Books 2016.
Edition
First American edition
Language
English
Danish
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 31 cm
ISBN
9781592701872
1592701876
Main Author
Glenn Ringtved, 1968- (author)
Other Authors
Charlotte Pardi (illustrator), Robert Moulthrop (translator)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Moody watercolors set a somber tone for this Scandinavian import. Four children live with their ailing grandmother in an isolated house. When a guest in a hooded cloak comes to visit her, they immediately guess his purpose and attempt to delay him with coffee and hospitality. But Death, whose heart "beats with a great love of life," gently explains that life and death depend on each other. "Who would yearn for day if there were no night?" Spare and heartfelt, this book rejects cute euphemisms and questionable allusions to afterlife scenarios in favor of a straightforward depiction of grandmother's peaceful death. The children's sorrow soon transforms into fond memories. The art plays a key role in weaving death into life and vice-versa. Death's black robe is inky and textured, while the children wear brightly-colored shirts and serve coffee from a brilliant turquoise pot. Overcast, gray light becomes yellow sunshine once the children let their grandmother go. This joins books like Bardur Osskarson's Flat Rabbit (2014) in depicting death in a matter-of-fact, never condescending tone to children. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In this empathic picture book, first published in Denmark in 2001, Death—a towering, robed figure with a beaklike nose and sorrowful expression—solemnly sits with four children around their grandmother's kitchen table. "Not wishing to frighten the children, the visitor had left his scythe outside the door," writes Ringtved, providing a clue as to the figure's tender nature. And yet, he has come for their grandmother, resting upstairs. The children refill Death's coffee mug in an attempt to postpone the inevitable; while drinking his coffee, Death tells them an allegorical story to illustrate how, like grief and joy or sorrow and delight, life and death cannot exist without the other. "What would life be worth if there were no death?" he asks. Finally, Death goes upstairs, telling the children the words of the title, which offer comfort in the following years. Pardi creates a cozy, lived-in ambiance in her pencil and watercolor art; Death's almost grandfatherly persona suggests that there is a time to go gently into that good night. Ages 4–8. (Feb.) [Page ]. Copyright 2016 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Aware their grandmother is gravely ill, four siblings learn to realize the value of loss, life, and the importance of being able to say goodbye.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Aware that their grandmother is gravely ill, four siblings make a pact to keep death from taking her away, but Death comes, nevertheless, gently and naturally, in a book that helps children realize the value of loss to life and the importance of being able to say goodbye.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

When Death comes to take their grandmother away, he shares a story with four siblings that helps them realize the value of loss and the importance of being able to say goodbye.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Aware their grandmother is gravely ill, four siblings make a pact to keep death from taking her away. But Death does arrive all the same, as it must. He comes gently, naturally. And he comes with enough time to share a story with the children that helps them to realize the value of loss to life and the importance of being able to say goodbye.Glenn Ringtved is a best-selling and award-winning Danish children's author, whose books have been widely translated.Charlotte Pardi is a well-beloved Danish illustrator, who has created numerous books since her first picture book in 2000.Robert Moulthrop is a published playwright. He lives in Greenwich Village, New York City.

Review by Publisher Summary 5

Aware their grandmother is gravely ill, four siblings make a pact to keep death from taking her away. But Death does arrive all the same, as it must. He comes gently, naturally. And he comes with enough time to share a story with the children that helps them to realize the value of loss to life and the importance of being able to say goodbye.

Glenn Ringtved is a best-selling and award-winning Danish children's author, whose books have been widely translated.

Charlotte Pardi is a well-beloved Danish illustrator, who has created numerous books since her first picture book in 2000.

Robert Moulthrop is a published playwright. He lives in Greenwich Village, New York City.

Review by Publisher Summary 6

A poetic picture book about being able to say goodbye to those we love, while holding them in memory.