Perfect Picture Book Friday: Goodbye Mousie


Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susanna Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others who contribute a picture book review and related resources for parents, teachers and children. 

I just wanted to mention three important items:

1.      Do you let your kids watch TV?  Do you wonder how it affects them?  Check out a recent article: The Mom and Dad TV Debate at…I contributed to the article:

2.      Are you concerned about the lack of physical activity in our kindergartens today?  Has the “block corner” all but disappeared in your child’s kindergarten…replaced by the “computer corner”?  Check out BLOCK PLAY on…I contributed to that article as well:

3.      Congratulations again to the 20 libraries that will receive a copy of Show Me How!  With my son visiting for Mother’s Day weekend (yes, we had an AWESOME time…I’ll try to post some pics next week) and with preparing for a teacher-training program I am doing today for the staff of our local Boys and Girls Club at their annual Youth Development Conference (Building Self-Esteem…One Picture Book at a Time), I have not been able to pack the books and send them out yet.  My apologies…and I will endeavor to do so this weekend,

And now to our Perfect Picture Book Friday selection!

It is not easy to deal with death and loss.  Often, the first death a child experiences is the loss of a beloved pet.  Parents may be are unsure how to handle this type of situation and feel uncomfortable even talking about the subject. 

Here is a book that might help.


 Goodbye Mousie

Written by Robie Harris

Illustrated by Jan Ormerod

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry (2001)

Ages: 3 and up


Grief/loss, family togetherness, pets


“When I woke up this morning, I tickled Mousie’s tummy.  But Mousie didn’t wake up.”


Mousie is the little boy’s beloved pet.  When Mousie gets sick and dies, the little boy goes through the various stages of grief.  First he denies it…”Mousie is NOT dead!  He’s just very, very sleepy this morning.”  Eventually, with the help of his parents, the little boy accepts the death of his pet and comes to understand that it is ok to feel angry and sad.

Why do I like this book

I love this book because it takes a difficult subject and deals with it in a sensitive loving manner.  Young children need to understand that death is a normal part of life.  They also need to be allowed to grieve and be angry or sad when someone they love dies.  Often, parents try to shield children from the truth about such matters…or, when a pet dies, they brush it off as if it was unimportant…but this book gives parents a gentle and loving example of how it can be done with respect and sensitivity.

Related Activities:

Here are a few internet resources that might be of help to parents and teachers:

Death and Dying: Valdolsta State University

Talking to Children About Death: Hospice

Helping Your Child Deal with Death: KidsHealth

Children’s Books About Death

In the story, the little boy paints a shoebox that he will use to bury his beloved pet.

Children do love to paint…and fingerpainting so much fun.  The sensation of the cool thick paint sliding under their fingers can be very calming for many children.  And painting is a wonderful vehicle for expressing emotions.


You will need: Fingerpaint (can be bought at hobby shops and toy and department stores OR you can make an EDIBLE fingerpaint by stirring up some vanilla pudding – white/yellow – chocolate pudding – brown – strawberry pudding – pink.  The edible fingerpaint is fun for kids of all ages), fingerpaint paper (you can use a roll of inexpensive shelf paper instead), COVERUPS for children and work surfaces.

This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susanna Leonard Hill.  Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.

27 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday: Goodbye Mousie

  1. Loss is so difficult for all of us – there can never be too many great picture books to help kids deal with it. It’s so weird how each week similar topics show up on the list. You have this book about pet loss, and Kimberley posted The Scar which is about a boy losing his mom. It would be nice if kids never had to deal with such things, but since they do, it’s wonderful to have books like these to help them.


    • I will be getting over to read the other picture book reveiws later tonight…just got back from the staff training program…lots of fun! One of the young male teachers shared that he had dropped away from reading at about age 8…and returned to it many years later…he regretted losing all of that time being separated from books and wondered what tips I might share to help teachers and parents who face similar problems with their kids. I suggested that the adults should be seen reading, that books be found that relate to the particular child’s passions and interests, and that they make passports and have each page stamped (like a visa stamp when you enter another country) for every book read…when the passport is filled, they could go on a field trip to a place that is related to the child’s interests. What do you think?


  2. Thanks for sharing this book and all of your resources. My kids had a hard time losing their cat and I think this book sounds like it would have been wonderful to share with them. I like the finger painting idea a lot!


    • I agree, Jennifer! Some topics are difficult to talk about…reading a picture book that addresses the subject is a non-confrontational way of opening up the discussion. 🙂 The edible fingerpainting is pretty yummy…I don’t know that I have ever encouraged the little ones to eat it…wouldn’t want them doing that with regular fingerpaints…but if they happen to get some in their mouth…no worries. 🙂


  3. Vivian, the “Mom and Dad Debate” article about too much TV, etc. was an excellent summary of your suggestions, especially the part about parents being the living, real examples for the children. Good job!


    • Thanks, Kirsten!  It’s amazing how there really is a book (or many books) for every topic you could imagine…and reading them with kids does lower the stress level many parents experience when they have to address delicate issues. 🙂   


  4. I followed the link about TV. We watch some PBS shows, but not a lot. I’m interested to see how the iPad/Kindle time gets factored into future studies. My son enjoys playing with interactive books, etc. Of course, he enjoys running, running and running some more and playing too. I’m glad you highlighted this book. It’s so important for this topic to be available for children.


    • Thanks, Stacy…glad you checked out the article on TV watching. 🙂  I think it’s important to have a balance in all that we do…TV (or computer) can be part of a child’s day…but, as you say, they also need running and playing as well. Yes, the book is lovely and does a wonderful job with a sensitive subject.  


  5. I commented on our TV experience on your other post so I won’t repeat myself here.
    Books can be so useful in making kids understand what’s going on around them they have no control over. We’re big fans of Charlie & Lola, both the books and TV series. In one of the episodes, their mouse Sizzles dies during the night, and it shows the kids go through the whole grieving process. My kids really felt for Charlie & Lola, and why they were sad. A lot better than I would have explained it to them. We lost our old cat a couple of years ago but I think they were too young to get it, although they do talk about him being gone sometimes, so things do sink in.


    • Thank you so much for sharing, Milka.  I totally agree that there are some TV shows that can be great for kids…especially if a parent sits and participates with the children, as you do. 🙂  It’s just that TV can become the babysitter/role model/main influencer for some kids…and that’s not good.  Loss of a pet is often the first experience young children have with the grief process…so books or shows that address that issue sensitively are valuable!   


  6. This sounds a great way to help kids deal with death. I ought to read this, since one of my 12 x 12 covers dealing with the death of a friend’s mom. Thanks Vivian and yes my youngest watches too much tv. I really have to take her to play group and the park to get her away. And she’s so creative away from it it’s a shame. I’m working on it!


    • I know, Catherine…it’s hard to balance home, family, work, time for oneself. 🙂  We can only do our best…my kids watched TV also…and I enjoy zoning out for an hour or two in the evening with a big bowl of popcorn and something light on the TV. 😉   I think Goodbye Mousie is one of the sweetest books on this sensitive topic because it gives us the child’s perspective and shows how supportive the family can be.  


  7. I am always looking for pet loss books and have reviewed a number of them. But, I really like this one because it goes through the stages of grief with a child. Thanks for sharing this book.


    • Pat, one of the most amazing things about Susanna’s Perfect Picture Book Friday is that no matter how many picture books we have read, there are always other great ones out there that we haven’t…and this Friday book review posting affords us the opportunity to discover those. 🙂 Glad the book will be helpful to you!


    • Thank you, thank you, Loni! Death is a really difficult topic to address with kids…I know this book can help because it validates a child’s right to express grief, anger and sadness. 🙂


  8. “Young children need to understand that death is a normal part of life. They also need to be allowed to grieve and be angry or sad when someone they love dies.” Yes, yes, yes to this. Our society treats grief as if it were a 24 hour stomach virus instead of the ongoing process it truly is. Thank you for sharing this book, Vivian!


    • You are so welcome, Heather….thank you so much for your enthusiam over this book. 🙂 Treating death like a 24-hour virus…I love that…so true. Worse yet is when death is shoved under the rug and not acknowledged at all…when a child loses a parent and the other parent closes up about it and won’t let the child remember or grieve the loss…check out “When Charlotte’s Mom Died”…awesome book that addresses that issue.


  9. Pingback: A Quick Hello And An Update On Creative Life « PrefacMe

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