These are not books that treat death the way you would expect. Our librarian pointed out these two books, and asked for my opinion on them when we finished.
Earlier this week, we read Keeper Of Soles, by Teresa Bateman, illustrations by Yayo. This is a witty and sweet book about a very special cobbler, and what happens when Death comes to visit. The cobbler’s response to Death is to start making him shoes (with soles, of course). I know there are other books in which the character tries to avoid death because they are too busy doing worthwhile deeds (see below for another), but this one is incredibly colorful and uplifting. It is a unique and surprisingly lovely book. The play between “soul” and “sole” is well appreciated, as is the view of Death as a character, rather than something that happens.
Another book that has Death as a character is Grandy Thaxter’s Helper, by Douglas Rees, illustrated by S.D. Schindler. This book is set in an older time (think Colonial time period), and Grandy Thaxter takes care of her own grandchildren and some of the other children in town. “Mr. Death” comes to carry off Grandy, but as with the cobbler in the previous story, she has too much work. Grandy, however, asks Death to help her. What follows is a great description of all the work women performed – making soap, cleaning house, cooking meals, etc. Grandy exhausts Death. Another surprisingly sweet and engaging book.
Both books kept all 3 of the Gaggle of Girls (3, 6, 8 ) entertained. We’d give both of these 5 stars, and have added them to our list of books to purchase.