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Good-bye, Baby Max    by Diane Cantrell & Heather Castles order for
Good-bye, Baby Max
by Diane Cantrell
Order:  USA  Can
Bridgeway, 2008 (2008)

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

It's springtime in a busy kindergarten classroom, when Mrs. B., brings in a box - 'The children are thrilled, / for soon they will greet / Three baby chicks, / so soft and so sweet.' In advance of their hatching, the children name the small fluffballs Dora, Spiderman and Max.

One morning, the chicks start to hatch - Dora and Spiderman quickly emerge, but Max 'pecks and pecks, / trying to crack open his shell'. The kids worry and Chris asks, 'Is Max gonna die?' The next morning, they sadly learn that Max didn't make it (the blue tinge to the illustration emphasizes how the children feel about the news).

At Mrs. B,'s urging, they decide to 'find a way to say good-bye.' This wise teacher organizes an outdoor funeral for the little chick - the children sing and each takes their turn for a 'last good-bye'. They craft memorial projects and watch Dora and Spiderman cheep and play, 'Knowing that soon / they'll have happier days.'

Diane Cantrell, who was a kindergarten teacher and is now a Licensed Professional Counselor, does a nice job of handling this delicate subject, while Heather Castles draws settings and children's (happy and sad) faces beautifully. I recommend Good-bye, Baby Max as an excellent vehicle to communicate what the loss of a loved one means to little ones.

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