Review of ‘Beginnings and Endings with Lifetimes in Between’

I’ve had this post waiting in the wings for a long time now. I just wanted to put it up at the right time for someone. Not that it will help. Nothing does when a loved one dies. Except time and being surrounded by a village and an army of people who love you and your family. My village held my family and I afloat  when my brother died. Eden…I know you have an army of people around you – and little old me has you in my thoughts and prayers.

‘Beginnings and Endings with Lifetimes in Between’

Written by Bryan Mellonie and illustrated by Robert Ingpen.

Publisher: Penguin

lifetimesLoss needs to be discussed with children. It’s never easy. It’s never nice. For some families, like mine,  it has to be discussed at an earlier age then we would like. I live in the hope that the gorgeous children in my extended family will grow up full of empathy and understanding for those around them.

There are many, many children’s books which deal with grief. Some are wonderful, some are downright awful and scary. Some deal with death of a loved pet and some deal with the death of a grandparent or other family member. There is a book for every situation. But the book about grief that I have loved for such a long time now is ‘Beginnings and Endings with Lifetimes in Between’.

There is a beginning and an ending to everything that is alive. In between is a lifetime. It is the same for people as it is for plants and animals, even for the tiniest insects.

It was first published in 1983 and as a beginning teacher many moons ago, I remember reading this with my Year Two class one year when a child in the class had a family member pass away. It is a truly beautiful, not at all scary book and I highly recommend it to all families. This is not a book just for times of sorrow and grief; this is a book for all times. It explains the cyclic nature of life and death for animals, plants and people in a matter of fact, beautiful and poignant way. Butterflies, flowers, birds, ants, fish, trees, rabbits and people; they all have a lifetime and no matter how long or how short that lifetime might be all lifetimes have a beginning and an ending with living in between.

The illustrations by Robert Ingpen are, of course, divine and I’d do just about anything to own one of the original illustrations. Robert Ingpen created the illustrations for Colin Thiele’s iconic book ‘Storm Boy’ and since that time Ingpen has written and/or illustrated over 100 books, designed the flag and coat of arms for the Northern Territory and postage stamps, including stamps for the Captain Cook Bicentenary and the 50th anniversary of CSIRO. He has won the international Hans Christian Anderson Medal and the Dromkeen medal. I love all his work, but ‘Beginnings and Endings with Lifetimes in Between’ is my favourite by far.

There are some books that every family should own and read often – and this is one of them.

There are lots of living things in our world.

Each one has its own special lifetime.

Trees that are tall and strong grow slowly, standing in the sunshine and in the rain.

Some of them live for a very long time indeed, as long as a hundred years or more.

That is their lifetime.

You can purchase it here.

Deep Peace Eden. Deep Peace for you and your family is my wish and my prayer for you today.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for the tip. We’ve had to deal with death and explaining it to our three year old earlier this year. What age group would this book be fore?

    • Hi Renee, It’s a great book to share with kids from about three up…it’s a very simple (but oh so perfect) text. I just love it.
      Megan

  2. Except for the odd chicken and fish or a dear friend moving away, my children have touch-wood not experienced great loss. It’s something that I think about a lot. x

    • Yes it’s always a hard one. And hard to know whether to ‘prepare’ or to just go with dealing with the aftermath.

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