Review Blog

Jul 14 2015

Shine: a story about saying goodbye by Trace Bella

cover image

Allen & Unwin, 2015. ISBN 9781743316344
(Age: 4+) Warmly recommended. Death, Grieving, Family. The death of a sibling can be beyond the comprehension of young children, but here is a book which will help some come to an understanding and acceptance of the event that has happened in their lives. Others will read it will interest as a story about death and what happens without it being cloying of over simplified.
One day on a beautiful planet amongst the stars lived a horse called Shine. He met another horse called Glitter and together they produced two small horses. The family was perfect but one day Shine knew he had to go back to the stars. He did not want to go but knew that he had to. Glitter and her offspring cried tears of gold, and the next day followed the golden sea they had made. They climbed a mountain and saw the brightest star in the sky, Shine. They knew that he was there looking over them, making sure they were safe, and with that security they curled up together and slept.
Such a deceptively simple tale creates the most complex of images as the mother and her children find a way through their grief, knowing their husband and father is there shining down upon them. Be warned: the simple words evoke the most basic of responses and I had to hold back tears each time I read it.
Written by Trace Balla in response to her sister's husband's death, the work exudes compassion and family. The simplicity of the watercolour illustrations suits the text admirably, ensuring every reader will be transfixed.  
Fran Knight

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