The Goodbye Book

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
The Goodbye Book Book Poster Image
Comforting story about grief, loss, and finding joy again.

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Walks readers through the many ways people cope with grief, offering reassurance and some ideas on ways to cope.

Positive Messages

Grief is a confusing, uncomfortable period, and there's no right way to respond to loss. But eventually it does get better. Loss is part of life, and cherishing happy memories helps make it easier to bear.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The fish loves and misses its friend. Other friends aren't always sure how to help the fish through grief, but they're present and available. When the fish is ready to reconnect with them, they're willing companions. They offer comfort, patience, and love.

Violence & Scariness

The fish's friend is abruptly absent from the fish bowl; it's unclear whether the fish died or was moved to another tank.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Todd Parr's The Goodbye Book is about loss -- the pet fish's friend may have died or may have moved away. This ambiguity helps make the book relatable to children dealing with many kinds of loss. The story addresses the many forms of grief, both emotional and physical, and how people who are grieving might find comfort. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

A pet fish suddenly finds its tank mate gone. It feels sad, angry, and lots of other confusing emotions. Sometimes it doesn't feel like eating or sleeping or being with others. After a while, though, the fish starts revisiting memories of good times shared with its absent friend and starts to feel a little better. The fish still has ups and downs and dearly misses its friend but is comforted by loved ones who remain close by.

Is it any good?

Saying goodbye is hard, but this understanding, supportive book offers comfort and guidance to children dealing with the messy emotions of grief. Sadness, anger, confusion, loneliness -- it's OK to feel any of these or none, THE GOODBYE BOOK reassures.

Author-illustrator Todd Parr (We Belong Together: A Book About Adoption and Families) employs his trademark style -- bright colors, simple lines, and warm, straightforward prose -- to connect with very young children on their level. Parr offers assurance that it gets better, but he doesn't sugarcoat the difficulty of grief. He acknowledges that the pain of loss never completely goes away, but warm memories and love and support from those around you help you through it. This is a perfect choice for children struggling with any kind of loss or separation.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how they deal with loss. Which emotions do you feel? How do you take care of yourself?

  • How can you support loved ones who are struggling with grief?

  • What helps remind you of happy things about someone you miss?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love picture books and grief books

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate