The Funeral

by Matt James

Going to the funeral of her great-uncle Frank isn’t sad for young Norma: She... read more

Going to the funeral of her great-uncle Frank isn’t sad for young Norma: She gets to miss a day of school and see her younger cousin, Ray. Norma is not grief-stricken and that’s perfectly fine in this remarkably honest picture book. The story’s wonderful details, as when Norma explores the contents of her mother’s purse at church, are so authentic they feel familiar. So, too, is the fact that Norma finds the service boring. Ray asks, “Is Uncle Frank still a person?” Norma has no answer. The wonderful mixed-media art, a blend of full-page and sequential images, shows adults around Norma often somber-faced, sometimes hugging or crying. It also exquisitely conveys the sense of release Norma feels when she and Ray are able to escape the sober atmosphere to play outside. In the end, Norma is not unaffected. After pausing to consider a photo of great-uncle Frank, she tells her mom, “I think Uncle Frank would have liked his funeral.” (Ages 4–8)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2019

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