Saturday, March 27, 2010

Review: Where Do We Go?

Hi!  My name is Esmé. I am two-turning-three, and I got a pretty book to tell you about today!

Here are the details:

Title:  Where Do We Go? 
Author:  James F. Weinsier
Illustrator:  Cliff Beaman
Genre:  Children's book - up to age 10
Publisher:  Wondrous Publications L.L.C.
Physical Description: 44-page paperback picture book
List Price:  $12.95
ISBN:  978-0-615-23805-0
For More Info/To Purchase:,

The award-winning book, Where Do We Go?, delicately explores the theme of death in a comforting, child-friendly fashion with reassuring, thought-provoking text and cheerful illustrations. Its non-secular approach compatibly blends with any religious, spiritual or nondenominational framework, opening a pathway for a discussion about the hereafter. Weinsier conceived the book after his tragic loss of three immediate family members over a nine-month period. As he lovingly responded to his young grandchildren’s questions about their loved ones’ fates, the book naturally evolved, becoming an invaluable tool for parents, caregivers and other adults challenged with talking about death with little ones. 

About the Author:
Born in New York City in 1945, James Weinsier was raised on Long Island. He received an Associates Degree in Applied Sciences from Nassau Community College in 1964, followed by service in the U. S. Navy. Upon completing his tour of duty, he resumed his education at the University of Miami, graduating with a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration. He is now retired and lives with his wife, in Fernandina Beach, FL.
Here's what I've got to say about the book (Mommy's words in bold):

Is this your book?  Yeah!  See - I wrote my name on it!
Uh, right.  That would be your name, but the last E is backwards...  What did I tell you about NOT writing in books?  Oh, OK.  Sorry.
What is the book about?  Heaven.
Wow - look at all these fun things you might be able to do there!  What looks like the most fun?  There - that one!  Playing in the snow and building a snow man?  Yeah!
What about swimming in the pool or at the beach?  I like the snow one better!
Look - there's a mommy pushing her baby!  She has pretty pink shoes!  Do you want pretty pink shoes in heaven?  Yeah!

What Mommy Likes:  It doesn't focus on grief and death.  Let's start by saying that I started reading this book to Esmé without knowing exactly what it was about.  It seemed to be imagining all the many wonderful possibilities of heaven from a child's perspective, so that's how we took it.  It was only later that I saw the subtitle:  The Good Grief Book, that I realized it was intended to deal with the subject of death.  And that did explain a few things in the book, like the last words:  "Because 'forever you live' here in the hearts-of all those who love you!"

The rhyming text is easy to read and filled with fun kid-related imaginings, like shooting hoops with stars, shelves with video games (that you can juggle), bubbles playing follow-the-leader, dancing balloons at pizza parties.

The illustrations are also fun!  Colorful, full of little details like pink shoes, they match the text perfectly.

This book is a good starter point for this Bible text below that we've begun studying...  Let's imagine, and have fun with it!

What Mommy Doesn't Like:  This is a book that tackles what I see as a theological subject ("What Happens When You Die?") in a non-secular, but also non-theological way - full of questions and not a lot of answers.  It is vague enough that you can probably adapt it to whatever belief you have on the subject, which makes it more universally appealing.

I paraphrased a couple of sections (such as "I'm sure all our pets will be there with us" - since I'm not entirely sure about that...) and included a discussion about God and the timeline of death and resurrection and the earth made new.

I personally would prefer a book that refers to God, rather than to a reindeer sleigh.

Summary:  A fun book on a serious topic; it may not cover everything you want your child to know about death and life after, but it serves as a good starting point for that discussion.

Thanks to Five Star Publications for the review copy of this book, and to Mama Buzz for organizing the tour.