Goodbye House

Book review by
Ann Marie Sammataro, Common Sense Media
Goodbye House Book Poster Image
Young bear bids farewell to the old home.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Baby Bear is shown sitting in his mother's lap in the moving van, rather than in his own car seat.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the book's illustrations skillfully portray the emotional hollowness of an unoccupied home. Through Frank Asch's accessible prose, young children will be drawn in by Baby Bear's ritualized farewell to his house.

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What's the story?

Baby Bear's reluctance to leave his old home behind manifests itself in a vague feeling that something is missing. His wise parents gently remind him that although the house is physically empty, it is overflowing with their fond memories.

Together the family envisions how the house looked, filled with their belongings. Afterward, Papa Bear leads Baby Bear through the house and yard, saying goodbye to each special spot.

Is it any good?

Asch's text and artwork are a perfect fit here; the uncomplicated pictures are a reflection of the simply worded tale that helps kids cope with the stress of relocation. The bright illustrations are framed by a thin black line, encapsulating the pictures. The rounded figures and large eyes of the entire family render each of them childlike, making them appealing to young audiences.

While books for children of all ages about moving are numerous, this deals solely with bidding farewell to the old home. The Bear family, a perennial favorite among preschoolers, handles this situation in a practical manner. By methodically going through the house with Baby Bear to say goodbye, Papa Bear enables his son to have a small measure of control over the situation and a sense of completion.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about leaving a house you've lived in for a long time. What do you think would be hardest about leaving your home? How does the Bear family make it easier for Baby Bear?

Book details

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