Rodney was Bernadette’s old pal. Older than Bernadette, older than her dad, even older than Great-Aunt Clara! Day after day, year after year, Rodney was there. With such a loyal and constant companion and friend, it is so hard for Bernadette to adapt to a world without him when he dies. “She crawled deeper and deeper into her shell until all of Bernadette seemed to disappear.” Talking with a kiddo about the loss of a pet or a loved one can be so hard for a caregiver. Beautiful and wonderfully written books like this one help give words and articulations to the feelings of grief that can feel so overwhelming. And also wonderful models for how to be a good friend in times of sadness in Bernadette’s friend Amar who notices she needs help, listens, and shares.
Rodney was a tortoise, a very special tortoise, and this book is a very special book. (And a Charlotte Zolotow award honor book for writing in children’s picture books). It will be there when you need it at your library, just like Amar is there for Bernie when she needs him.