Thimble by Rebecca Young

cover image

Ill. by Tull Suwannakit. Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781743811627
(Age: 5+) Recommended. Death and loss, Grief, Acceptance, Grandparents. Suwannakit's soft watercolour and pencil illustrations set the scene for an emotionally involving story of a child who has lost a loved grandmother. When Grandma died she had nearly finished a crochet tug, and the remains of the rug and the wool and crochet hook lie on her chair near her glasses and photo of her and her husband. Nearby the young girl finds Grandma's thimble and puts it in her pocket. Mum is busy helping Grandpa and asks Mabel to go into the garden. Here she remembers her grandmother and the things they did together. She finds things that she wants to show her, and eventually slips the little thimble onto her finger. Going inside she watches as Mum tries to help Grandpa learn to look after himself. She does his washing and helps him prepare tea, but as Mabel cannot help, she is told to find something to do. The thimble reminds her of something she can do for them all - finish Grandma's blanket.
This is a charming story of loss and grief, of getting on with life after a death, but remembering all the good things about that person. Grandpa must learn to look after himself, Mum is in a rush trying to help him adjust and the young girl, almost seen as in the way, does something wonderful that all will relate to, seeing the finished rug, reminding them of the woman who has died and the love that keeps on giving through the thimble and the blanket. The soft illustrations cover the pages, sometimes taking in a whole scene, while some are in small boxes, showing things that happened in the past. Children will love looking at the images depicting the relationships between the four people, Grandpa and Grandma, Mum and Mabel, thinking about how those relationships have changed now that one has died. For classes looking at the make up of a family and the ups and downs of a family life, this is an admirable addition to the list of books to peruse.
Fran Knight