Title: The Bird Feeder
Author: Andrew Larsen
Major Themes: Death
Synopsis: Grandma and her grandchild enjoy watching birds at the bird feeder together, and when Grandma has to move to hospice, they find ways to make memories together there, too.
The Bird Feeder is very different from most of the books we read. Not very many of our picture books deal with death and dying, as this one does. I was not even sure that my little girls would understand what the story was about when I read it, but my seven-year-old picked up on what happened right away.
A young child, maybe six or eight years old, is happy that his grandmother lives with them now that she is sick. The child is happy to be able to see his grandmother any time he wants to. He fills her bird feeder every day, and they watch the birds together. They talk about their favorites and enjoy seeing them.
Then one day, the child comes home from school and Grandma is not there anymore. She went to hospice. Mom takes the child to hospice and they visit Grandma. The child brings Grandma’s bird feeder and hangs it outside her window. They create more memories there in hospice, enjoying the bird feeder, until the day Grandma is no longer there either.
The drawings in this book help to give the feeling of both love and sadness. The Bird Feeder is a beautiful story of the love that a grandmother and grandchild share, and how the memories they made in her final days can help the grandchild when he is sad and missing her. This is a good book to read with children to help them understand death and dying. It is a gentle introduction to the idea that older people pass away and are no longer with us.
I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley, and these are my honest thoughts about it.
Listening Level—Ages 3 – 4, 5 – 8
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9