Where Do All the Flowers Go? is a gentle picture book about the challenging topic of grieving. Author and illustrator Lisa Crystal introduces young readers to a family of three small mice who live peacefully with their parents. On a rainy day, little Cookie, Foster, and Tidbit are worried to see that their parents, Mama and Papa Crumb, have some sad news. Grandmouse has died. She died because she was old, but Cookie doesn’t understand and thinks she personally caused Grandmouse’s death. After Cookie has a nightmare and wonders when she will die too, Mama Crumb uses examples from plants, birds, and fish to show how all things eventually die. Cookie and her brothers create memorials for their grandmother, each in their own way, to honor her.
Where Do All The Flowers Go? is a great book for children who see death as frightening, especially in the context of a loved one’s passing. I found the tone of Lisa Crystal’s book to be encouraging in an excellent way, as the abundant talk of new life being born nicely balanced the sadness of death and comparisons to simple, daily examples of life patterns in things they’ve seen every day enabled Cookie and her siblings (and children too!) to relate to such a big concept. The pastel illustrations create a hushed calmness that flows off the page, validating the mouse family’s actively hopeful theme of embracing life even more because you know it will one day end. A neatly placed reminder that death is no one's fault—it just happens—threads into the story, but grief emotions are very much at the forefront as the little mice express their feelings by doing things like planting a rose garden and writing poetry. Where Do All the Flowers Go? will serve parents and young children very well during a time of grief.
This is the companion for Sarah Scheele's newsletter blog. In it I share reviews for books I'd recommend/are similar to my own.