Ira Says Goodbye

Book review by
Linda Rahm-Crites, Common Sense Media
Ira Says Goodbye Book Poster Image
Best for children dealing with moves.

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A lot or a little?

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

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that realistic conversations, first-person narrative, and, of course, Ira himself engage kids.

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What's the story?

Ira gets a bad surprise when he learns that his best friend and next-door neighbor, Reggie, is moving away. Reggie and Ira have shared everything: a tree house, a secret hiding place, birthday parties, and baseball cards.

Then, Ira gets an even worse surprise: Reggie suddenly seems to reject all the things they have in common and goes on endlessly about the wonders of his new community, Greendale. To Ira, it's "as if Reggie had already moved away," and he begins to convince himself that he will be glad to see Reggie leave.

Reggie's true feelings come out only on moving day, when he and Ira renew their friendship. Supportive parents, the telephone, and the fact that Reggie is still close enough for weekend visits provide a comforting resolution to a difficult experience.

Is it any good?

Much of the charm of Bernard Waber's earlier book, Ira Sleeps Over, remains. Ira is a memorable character -- funny, reflective, and smart in some ways and clueless in others. The illustrations reinforce the down-to-earth quality of the story and the everyday lives of the characters.

The more serious subject, of course, makes IRA SAYS GOODBYE a less fun read than Ira Sleeps Over. This is a welcome book for adults wanting to ease children through a separation from friends, an increasingly common scenario in our mobile society. However, the treatment of the situation seems formulaic, and the plot, which has Reggie moving only about an hour away, seems to raise some unrealistic expectations.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about farewells. Have you ever had to say goodbye to a friend because one of you was moving? If so, were you able to keep in touch? What helps soothe you when you say farewell to teachers, friends, or visitors?

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