Written in first person or in this case “first panda”, Goodbye, Jeepers –What to Expect When Your Pet Dies by Nancy Loewen, perfectly captures pertinent thoughts going through a little child’s mind as he experiences a similar loss.
The author goes on to explain how grief is not a single feeling, but many feelings that come and go over time.
Help your child know that “there is no right or wrong way to act when a pet dies. Grief is different for everyone.”
For example, when Little Panda first finds out that Jeepers, his pet guinea pig, has passed away, he says: “I didn’t want to think about death at all that sad stuff…’
But when he is ready, Little Panda goes on to talk to his mum about it, and prepare the “coolest box ever” to bury Jeepers in his Aunty Judy’s garden. On the bus journey there, the Panda family meets with friendly passengers who talk about their quirky pets.
“When I got off the bus, I felt sad…But not as sad as before. I waved goodbye as the bus rolled away. And then we buried Jeepers,” says Little Panda.
Illustrated by Christopher Lyles, Goodbye, Jeepers, closes with a touching scene of the family in their living room, looking at a photo of Jeepers with Little Panda.
Published in 2012 by Picture Window Books, USA, Goodbye, Jeepers is available in Singapore’s Public Libraries.