Fox & Goldfish

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Fox & Goldfish
Nils Pieters
Book Island
Children’s books that tackle a subject such as bereavement are hard to get right: this one does it beautifully, relying largely on visuals with just a minimum of words. Be warned though: the impact of this gorgeous book is enormous; you’ll need a box of tissues at the ready when you read it.
It centres around two friends one largish, one very small. Fox realises that his much-loved pal, Goldfish isn’t long for this world and he embarks on a mission to ensure they have some unforgettable experiences, together in what short time remains.
The tenor of the whole thing is upbeat, indeed joyful almost the whole way through as the two travel the world together seeing amazing sights …

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scaling heights …

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exploring jungles and experiencing natural wonders …

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with most of the painted landscapes radiating warmth and happiness through the vibrant colours Pieters has chosen. Only the jungle looks dark and gloomy …

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foreshadowing perhaps the inevitable finale: inevitable yes but nevertheless a real tear-jerker, that resonates long after the book has been set aside.
This deserves a wide audience; it’s one for the family bookshelf and a must for early years settings and primary schools; I cannot recommend it too highly.

Everyone has to deal with the death of a loved one at some time but happily not every one has to deal with a parent or other family member who has kidney failure.
Here is a little book written about a family doing just that: this is not a review, rather I’m flagging up that it’s available:

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H is for Haemodialysis
Anita & Simon Howell, illustrated by Sue Roche
Dad, Simon has end-stage kidney failure and the authors an ex-nurse and a doctor, Anita and Simon Howell himself, show how this affects a whole family. It’s narrated by 8 year old Lucy, who has a younger brother, Jack a mum, Ruth and dad, Douglas. It’s Lucy’s dad who has kidney problems and needs haemodialysis and herein Lucy shares with readers what this means – why her dad’s arm “buzzes’ and why sometimes, ‘he wears just one glove’.

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Now while this straightforward unpretentious book has no claims to be a literary work, it could be just the thing for a family in a similar situation. The tenor is light and medical terms used are explained at the back of the book.
I was asked to donate my copy to my local doctor’s surgery and I will do just that.
More about the authors on their Facebook page

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