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Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children Paperback – Oct 1 1983

4.5 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; 1 edition (Oct. 1 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553344021
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553344028
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 0.3 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 113 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932) worked primarily as a banker during his life. His masterpiece "The Wind in the Willows" grew out of the stories he told his young son. Robert Ingpen has designed, illustrated, and written more than 100 published works of fiction and nonfiction, among them "Around the World in 80 Days," "The Jungle Book," and the centenary edition of "Peter Pan and Wendy," In 1986 he was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for his contribution to children's literature.


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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I heard about this book and decided to take a look before I needed it. I know that eventually my child will start asking questions about death, and I'd like to know what resources are available. I was particularly drawn to this title because it can be tailored to a variety of religious belief systems. I disagree with a previous poster who stated that this book teaches that there is no afterlife. The way I read it, the book doesn't take a stand either way. Being "alive" on earth is not the same thing as "eternal life" in the religions I am familiar with. No religion I know of denies that earthly bodies are alive and then they die.
I like the fact that this book compares all types of organisms from plants to animals to people. The concept of a life span ties it all together. What is "in between" the beginning and ending of a life is living. I appreciate that this book emphasizes the in between, and therefore strikes a positive note.
I would caution against using this book as a regular picture book for toddlers and older preschoolers because it may actually introduce the idea of death before a child is able to comprehend the explanation. However, I think it's an excellent choice for a child who is asking about death or who has recently experienced the loss of a pet, friend, or relative.
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Format: Paperback
I have a fairly extensive collection of books about death and grieving for "my" children, which we have used for the loss of
family, friends and pets. But this is the only book I regularly give copies of to families. The "de-personalized" way it talks about death, the universality of its text combined with soft drawings and repetition are very soothing. This is NOT a book about emotions or stages of death. (If you are looking for one of those Everett Anderson's Goodbye is a positive place to start.)
This is a book about the rhythm of life and death for all creatures, for everything that is born. One of the best parts of the book is its emphasis on what a lifetime is, and how it is framed by birth and death, and that inbetween those "markers" is what is important. It explains that different creatures have different life spans, and that this aspect of nature is neither fair nor unfair. It simply is.
I do not restrict this book to times when a child is grieving,
I include it in our regular reading rotation, so that the children see death as a normal part of life experiences. Death is so emotionally charged, especially for the grown ups, that having a calm book is especially worthwhile. When a child is actually grieving balancing the more "intense" books with this soothing one, does wonders.
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Format: Paperback
As a public school librarian, I would say that "Lifetimes" is an effective picture book for an adult to share with a child (or children) in dealing with the subject of death. However, as a person of faith, I would add that the scope of this book is limited to earthly life and therefore does not touch on the belief in life after death.
The text states: "Nothing that is alive goes on living for ever." This statement either reflects the authors' intent on only dealing with the concept of physical death, or it could be interpreted as their belief statement. This is why I'd suggest that "Lifetimes" be read by, or shared with, a caring adult who would be able to answer a child's questions based on a family's belief system.
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Format: Paperback
My 4 1/2 year old really enjoys it. Beautiful & honest illustrations. The picture of the boy getting a sliver out continues to get the biggest reaction. This book was recommended to me by a friend whose daughter has great sensitivity to any living thing/being dying. I think it is one of the "essential" books for every child's library.
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Format: Paperback
Lifetimes is a gently beautiful introduction to death and grief for young children. Ingpen and Mellonie show death as a natural part of the process of living for all creatures. They also affirm the reality and importance of death's sadness, thus opening the way to healing.

This book is among the most popular choices of staff and grieving families at the hospice where I work. Every child enjoys the book's soothing text and lovely pictures. Even parents whose children have not yet experienced a loss might want to go ahead and get this book to help their children begin to build an understanding of the cycle of life.

If your own heart is breaking, reading Lifetimes to a child will bring a little comfort to you, too.
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Format: Paperback
This book is beautifully illustrated, and it explains the facts of life and death in a very direct and unsentimental way: all creatures have a lifetime, then they die. The book discusses the lifetimes of different living creatures, from insects who only live a few days, to large mammals who live many years. It describes people as living for "sixty or seventy years, sometimes even more." That is a little scary for a child whose grandparents are already way past those ages and still in great health. "Lifetimes" explains the concepts of lifespan and death, but does not offer comfort for those who fear death or are grieving. I recommend the book "Gentle Willow" for those who want a gentler, more comforting story, that is no less true to fact.
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