Aunt Fanny's Star

illus. by Feridun Oral. 36p. Minedition. Sept. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9789888341306.
K-Gr 2—An elderly aunt comes to stay with a family of anthropomorphized bunnies when she can no longer take care of herself. Aunt Fanny's playful ways, generosity, and storytelling quickly endear her to the bunny children, despite the challenges to the household caused by her arrival. As they spend her last days together, she gently prepares little bunnies for her inevitable departure by pointing out the stars and telling them she will go there some day. "At some point, each of us must go elsewhere—to that place where we were before we were born. It is where we return when we die" she says. When she finally passes, the bunny family members grieve but console themselves in knowing that though Aunt Fanny left her "tired old body" behind, she's somewhere else "having fun and telling her stories." Oral's gentle illustrations have an almost vintage feel to them, part—Beatrix Potter, part—Grandma Moses. Though a touch juvenile for the text-heavy story and its stark subject matter in their quaint playful style, they manage to soften and lighten the tone while expressively depicting poignant heart-wrenching moments such as the bunnies grieving for their aunt or departing her funeral on a starlit night.
VERDICT A touching, if somewhat overlong story that deals with its tough subject in an honest yet comforting manner; a solid addition to the death and grieving sections of most collections.

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