Not an everyday read, but definitely a must-have for pet-loving kids.


What makes a guinea pigs, earthworms, fish, etc. Something Wonderful is that to children, they are more than just a "pet." They are a friend. So when the inevitable happens, and they become Something Dead, it can be hard. Hard to understand just what dead means, hard to understand why your heart hurts, and hard to figure out what the "right thing to do" is. In addition to being a guide on how to plan a funeral, the narrator helps validate a reader's feelings.

Parent Perspective:
I could have used a book like this when my daughter was younger. In addition to Roger (a beta fish), every caterpillar, firefly, frog - you name it - that she found became a pet. We had lots of Somethings Wonderful ... and lots of Somethings Dead. She would have appreciated this book for planning memorial events; we would have found the validating her feelings helpful - and great conversation starters.

On one hand, this book is for everyone. It explains death and the emotions associated with grief in ways that are comprehensible for young children. But it is also not a book for everyone, because it is about sad things and sensitive children may find it "scary."

Highly recommend this book for any home with children who like to explore the natural world for pets. It isn't an everyday read, but there will be times when you can pull it out and offer comfort.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

This is a must-have for families of children who like to collect creatures as pets or who have small pets with short lifespans. Humor about types of memorials not only lightens the story but also helps young readers understand the emotions that are part of the grief process.

Content Awareness Factors:

This is a book about death and how to plan a funeral. While the author interjects appropriate humor, it is still a theme that is built on sadness and loss. Because the topic is not for every child and it can make some readers uncomfortable, we are adding this notice.

Type of Book:
In addition to being a guide, this picture book helps young children understand emotions that come with loss and grief.
Educational Themes:

This is not an every-day kind of book, but it is a great choice when your child is trying to understand how death works and the different feelings that go with loss. Use this as a way to plan a memorial for a pet in your home or to encourage your child to express their feelings.

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
10 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
6 and Up
Purchase Recommendation:
If you have a child who likes to make every living thing a pet, you'll need to buy this book.

Title The End of Something Wonderful: A Practical Guide to a Backyard Funeral
Author Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic
Publisher Sterling Children's Books, Imprint Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. © 2019
Illustrators George Ermos
ISBN 9781454932116
Material Hard Cover
Cost $16.95
Genres Animal Character, Emotions and Feelings, Humor, Death and Loss

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