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Benny and Penny Say Goodbye to a Friend

bennypenny1Benny and Penny in How to Say Goodbye, by Geoffrey Hayes (Sept. 2016, TOON Books), $12.95, ISBN: 978-1-935179-99-3  

Recommended for ages 4-8

While playing outside, Penny discovers Little Red, a salamander, has died. She’s upset, but her brother, Benny, seems more irritated by Little Red – and Penny’s grief – than anything else. Penny and her friend Melina bury Little Red and hold a little ceremony for him, which stirs up mixed feelings for Benny.

This latest book in the Benny and Penny early graphic novel series takes on the tumultuous emotions that death can stir up: grief being one, and guilt being another. These feelings are often overwhelming to adults; to children, they must feel like a tidal wave. Benny remembers times he was unkind to Little Red, which triggers his grief. Benny’s guilt motivates him to take part in Little Red’s memorial, and Mr. Hayes gives Benny, Penny, and readers a bright spot to end on.

There are some great books on dealing with grief and loss with children: most recently, Margaret Wise Brown’s The Dead Bird and Ida, Always, by Caron Levis. Each book speaks beautifully to children, and each handles grief differently – just like people do. How to Say Goodbye is a sensitive look at dealing with strong feelings in the wake of loss. An important addition to graphic novel collections and readers advisory lists.

There will be an educator’s guide closer to the book’s publication. Keep an eye on the Benny and Penny TOON Page for details.

Benny and Penny is an award-winning early graphic novel series. Benny and Penny in the Big No-No received the 2010 Theodore Geisel Award.

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Benny and Penny in Lost and Found – A WhatchaReading Review!

If you’ve got kids, I hope by now you’ve introduced them to comic books. When I was a kid, kids’ comics meant Richie Rich, Casper, and Archie. Now? There are virtually hundreds of titles to get kids started on a love of graphic, sequential storytelling.

Toon Books is a great resource for parents and educators that want to get more graphic novels into their little ones’ lives. I have a pretty nice collection of Toon Books in my library, including Jeff Smith’s Little Mouse Gets Ready. You read that right – Bone’s Jeff Smith does comics for Toon. Quality creators making quality comics.

Today, though, I’m talking Benny and Penny, the brother and sister mouse series also published by Toon and written by Geoffrey Hayes, who also won a Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the series back in 2010. The siblings’ newest adventure, Benny and Penny in Lost and Found, hits shelves on August 5th, and is an adorable addition to the series.

Read more of my review over at WhatchaReading and pre-order your copy of Benny and Penny in Lost and Found here!

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