Saying goodbye can be the hardest thing especially when you’re leaving the only home you’ve known. Rosie and Jacob are busy saying goodbye…but Clare decides she wants to say goodbye in a different way.
Title: Clare’s Goodbye
Author: Libby Gleeson
Illustrator: Anna Pignataro
ISBN: 9781760127527 Language: English
Themes: feelings, goodbye/letting go, family
What’s it about?
A family is moving house and the day comes when the children say goodbye to the things and places they have grown up with. At least Jacob and Rosie are busy saying goodbye to everything but Clare sits, stares into the distance, and doesn’t say a word…and then she disappears.
The text is to the point – a good mixture of dialogue and description which makes it great for younger audiences. The illustrations are sensitive and complement the writing even if they aren’t entirely to my personal taste.
You may need to explain the abstract message.
Clare’s Garden is nominated in two categories in Book Week 2018: Picture Book of the Year and Book of the Years – Early Childhood. Now in all fairness I have to say I am not a huge Libby Gleeson fan – her writing just doesn’t quite click for me though I know many many feel the opposite!
This story definitely deals with a topic that isn’t written about much for the intended age. The story shows Clare’s older sister, Rosie, encouraging her and her younger brother, Jacob to go around saying goodbye to their treehouse, a collection of snail shells, Blossom (the pet bunny buried in the backyard), and the sandpit now devoid of toys. Rosie and Jacob then watch the moving men before realising that Clare isn’t with them. They search the house and find her in the room dancing – and they begin dancing, too.
A subtle change in the book (which took me two reads to notice) is that at the beginning of the book Clare is pictured in monotone (black and white) while everyone else has colour. When Rosie and Jacob find her dancing – she is in full colour. I’m going to interpret this as Clare finding her way to celebrate saying goodbye in a way that doesn’t make her feel sad but joy at what they had and experienced in the house instead. My theory of course doesn’t hold up as to why everyone else is in colour during the book but I’m open to hear from others as to their interpretation of Clare!
This book may be useful when you have a student who will be leaving the class as they move house – the class could even write/illustrate a short goodbye book for the student. The aim would be to concentrate on the happy thoughts, memories, and things about the student.
I can’t say that personally I loved the book but at the same time I don’t completely dislike the book either. I would definitely recommend a read through before deciding if this one suits your class.