3 out of 4 stars
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Rooster’s Voice by Adriana Pernetz is a children’s picture book that focuses on the loss of a loved one and the experience of grief. This review does include spoilers, as this is information necessary for parents to decide if the book is suited for their children. The story revolves around Rooster, who is loved by all the animals on the farm. His voice is central to the farm animals’ happiness, as he comforts some animals and teaches songs to others. One day, the animals realize that Rooster’s voice is absent, and they feel sad as they recognize the hole he has left in their lives. However, each animal begins to take on a different role that Rooster played so that they can continue their lives while honoring his memory.
I loved the ending of this book, as it expressed a way for people to remember their loved ones while also being able to move on. The author focused on how the animals banded together to help eachother overcome their grief, but she also showed that they needed time to feel sad and to remember Rooster. This book demonstrates that people who have lost loved ones must find a balance between being sad and remembering them and learning to be happy without them. I liked that their way of moving on included daily reminders of how important Rooster was and involved all of the animals taking on the helpful roles that Rooster once played around the farm.
My one complaint about this book is that it wasn’t clear that Rooster would not be coming back. The animals just wake up one day and find him gone, which isn’t usually how children experience death in the real world. I would have appreciated the animals seeing Rooster sick and preparing eachother for his death rather than just having him disappear.
Overall, I would rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. I was tempted to give it the full four stars because of how well the author handled the aftermath of Rooster’s death, but I realized that if I, as an adult, was confused about how he died, children likely would be too.
I would recommend this book for children ages 4 to 9, but it should be read with an adult. This is not due to the difficulty, although some higher-level vocabulary words are included, but rather because I think children should be able to discuss the story and themes with a parent or trusted adult.
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