Monday, 3 February 2020

"All the Dear Little Animals" by Ulf Nilsson and Eva Eriksson (Gecko Press)

Gecko Press get off to a flying start with this gorgeously presented reprint of a classic book designed to help children overcome grief, and deal with the loss of a loved one - even if that loved one is furry, scaly, fluffy or nuzzly.

"All The Dear Little Animals" by Ulf Nilsson and Eva Eriksson takes a funny non-sentimental look at death from a child's perspective.

The story begins with young Esther's observation that despite the happy world we live in, death is all around us (every adult probably knows at least one death-obsessed child who makes this rather sombre statement from time to time).

This book beautifully caters for kids who mildly obsess about death and what it means. Esther's idea is to begin a funeral business called Funerals Ltd - along with her siblings they set out to ensure that all the dear (dead) little animals in bushes and hedgerows get a proper honourable send-off.

I don't think we've ever seen anything like this - a book that deftly treads between that oh-so-serious gallows-humour that kids possess sometimes, and what it feels like when something you've loved so much is lost for good and passes over.

Yet it's beautiful - not just to look at but to read aloud, as the story gently unfolds and Esther's 'wise beyond her years' approach to death begins to make sense.

Utterly fabulous and so glad to see it coming back for a whole new generation of readers.

Sum this book up in a sentence: A funny, whimsical and often quite sombre but sweet look at death from a child's perspective in a book like no other.

"All The Dear Little Animals" by Ulf Nilsson and Eva Eriksson is out now, published by Gecko Press (kindly supplied for review).