Saturday, July 11, 2009

Jenny: Coming to Terms with the Death of a Sibling

In the story Jenny: Coming to Terms with the Death of a Sibling, written by Stephanie Jeffs, Jenny’s sister, Rosie, wasn’t well. She didn’t have a sore throat, a runny nose or any spots, but she was sick. Rosie had to stay home from school. She spent most of her time in bed. When she wasn’t asleep, Jenny would take her toys into Rosie’s room and play with them on her bed. Sometimes Rosie had to go to the hospital.

All the members of Rosie’s family, and all her friends, wanted Rosie to get well. They all said they hoped Rosie would be well soon. Grandpa prayed that Jesus would take care of Rosie.

Jenny knew when she got sick, she usually felt better after a good night’s sleep. One day, after Rosie has been sick for quite some time, Jenny asked her mom, “Why doesn’t Rosie feel better after a good night’s sleep? Why does everyone say that they hope she gets better soon, but she never does? Why is she always ill?”

Jenny’s mom got very quiet. Then she explained that Rosie was very sick and might never get better. Jenny asked, “Will Jesus take care of Rosie?”

Her mom said, “Of course he will. He promises to take care of all of us, even when we die. He makes a special place for us to live with him in heaven. It’s a place where we will never hurt again and we will always be better.”

That night, Jenny prayed, “Lord Jesus, please take care of Rosie.” The last sentence of the book reads: “And deep inside she knew that he had heard her prayer.”

The watercolor illustrations by Jacqui Thomas are colorful and very realistic.

What I Like: It’s difficult to talk to anyone about dying; it’s especially difficult to talk to a child when their sibling is sick. So, it’s nice to have a book like this that helps explain what’s going on.

What I Dislike: Having said that, I want to add that I think the ending could have been a bit stronger. The title says the “death” of a sibling, but Jenny’s sibling doesn’t actually die in the story. Her death is implied, but it never actually happens. I don’t want to sound morbid, because it would have made the story sadder, but I think it would have also made the story stronger if Rosie had passed away and Jenny had actually had to deal with her sister’s death. Otherwise, the title should have been something like “Jenny: Understanding When a Sibling Gets Very Ill.”

Overall Rating: I will still give the book an overall rating of good as it is very well written.
Age Appeal: 4-8.

Publisher Info: Abingdon Press, 2006; ISBN: 0687497094; Hardcover: $14.00.

Buy it Now at for $11.99!
OR Buy it at for $11.90.

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