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The Scar

A little boy responds to his mother's death in a deeply moving story leavened by glimmers of humour and winning illustrations. When the boy in this story wakes up to find that his mother has died, he is overwhelmed with sadness, anger and fear that he will forget her. He shuts all the windows to keep in his mother's familiar smell and scratches open the cut on his knee to help him recall her comforting voice. He doesn't know how to speak to his dad any more, and when Grandma visits and throws open the windows, it's more than the boy can take - until she shows him another way to hold on to the feeling of his mum's love. With tenderness, touches of humour and unflinching emotional truth, Charlotte Moundlic captures the loneliness of grief through the eyes of a child, rendered with sympathy and charm in Olivier Tallec's expressive illustrations.
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About the Author

Charlotte Moundlic is the art director at French publishing imprint Pere Castor and the author of several French books for young readers. She lives in Paris. Olivier Tallec graduated from the Ecole Superieure d'Arts Graphiques in Paris and worked in advertising as a graphic designer before devoting himself to illustration. He has done many illustrations for newspapers and magazines and has illustrated more than thirty books for children. He lives in Paris.


Moundlic's English-language debut opens at an exquisitely painful moment; the boy narrator's father tells him that his terminally ill mother has died overnight. Moundlic captures the raw, unmanageable feelings that sweep over the boy: rage ("?'Well, good riddance!' I yelled to Dad. I couldn't believe she'd left us"), melancholy ("I'm trying not to forget what Mom smells like"), and an especially moving concern for his newly widowed father ("He won't be able to manage without her"). As the boy struggles to master his feelings, his grief collides with his father's and his grandmother's. A scrape on his knee recalls his mother's consoling voice ("It's just a scratch, my little man"); as it starts to heal, the boy does, too. Both Moundlic and Tallec leaven sadness with humor, Moundlic in words ("?'It's me!' I shout... which is dumb, since Dad knows that we're the only two here") and Tallec (the Big Wolf and Little Wolf books) with lighthearted, impishly sketched artwork. An invaluable resource for adults who need to understand what grief means to a child-and perhaps for a grieving child, as a roadmap through it. Ages 5-up. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

K-Gr 3-This book about loss and grief is all honesty, and the story is very much from a child's egocentric perspective. A boy is angry when his mother tells him that she is going away forever, and he yells at her that she shouldn't have had a kid if she were going to leave. When she dies, he worries that she never taught his father how to make toast properly. He feels the loss deeply but cannot put it into philosophical terms. He tries to capture his mother's smell by keeping the windows closed in the hot summer weather and thinks that by scraping his knee he will hear her voice saying, "It's just a scratch, my little man." When his grandmother points out that his mother will always be with him in his heart, he likes to run so he can feel his heart beating and know she is with him. One morning he wakes to find that his scrape has scabbed over and healed, much like his grief. The artwork, primarily red, focuses on the child throughout as he works through his feelings. The last page is particularly soothing as he puts his hand over his heart, feels it beating, and lets it lull him to sleep. This is an important addition to the canon of books on death for young children, showing beautifully how a child interprets the loss he is experiencing but has trouble naming. Libraries will want to have this title on hand for those children who need it.-Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

A beautifully, evocative book * Carousel * The most poignant of all * The Bookseller * A rare solace for a bereaved child. And a sentimental education for everyone else * Guardian * A book to be recommended as much to adults facing a child's grief as to the child himself * Books For Keeps * the central motif of the boy's scraped knee allows for a positive ending as the wound heals - although of course it does leave a scar * The School Librarian *

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