Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Benny and Penny in How To Say Goodbye

Benny and Penny in How To Say Goodbye

Geoffrey Hayes
Graphic Novel  Series
For ages 5 to 7
TOON Books, 2016   ISBN: 978-1935179993

One day Benny and his little sister Penny are playing in the leaves outside, when Penny finds the body of Little Red, a salamander that she was friends with. Penny feels sorry about Little Red’s demise and sadly cradles the animal’s body in her hands. Benny thinks that what she is doing is disgusting and then he angrily throws Little Red’s body in a bush where Penny can’t get to it. Apparently Little Red was always “popping out and scaring” Benny, and he is “not sorry” that Little Red is dead.

Poor little Penny starts to cry, which is when Penny’s friend Melina asks what is the matter. She helps Penny to retrieve Little Red’s remains and the two little girl animals decide that they are going to put the little salamander in a “safe place.”

While they look around for the best place to lay Little Red to rest, Benny follows the girls around, spying on them and generally being quite unpleasant. It is only when Little Red is buried, and the girls start to sing a song for their departed friend, that Benny starts to realize that he was mean to Little Red and now it is too late to make up for his bad behavior.

Young children often don’t know what to do when they are confronted with the loss of someone they know. They are sad and perhaps angry at the same time, which is very confusing. This wonderful graphic novel story beautifully shows how some little animals negotiate the business of saying goodbye and grieving.