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The End of Something Wonderful: A Practical Guide to a Backyard Funeral
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The End of Something Wonderful: A Practical Guide to a Backyard Funeral

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  99 ratings  ·  39 reviews
With gentle humor and quirkiness, this sympathetic book demonstrates how to say goodbye to a beloved pet and give it a proper sendoff.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 10th 2019 by Sterling Children's Books
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Average rating 4.36  · 
Rating details
 ·  99 ratings  ·  39 reviews

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Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When The Funeral by Matt James was first released, I showed it to a woman I knew at a dinner. Upon seeing it for the first time her face contorted into a moue of disgust and she proclaimed, in no uncertain terms, “Clearly he has never lost somebody important to him.” Which was (A) not really the point and (B) a clear-cut example of somebody judging a book by its cover and missing out on one of the truly great picture books of that year. But I guess I wasn’t all that surprised because when it ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: healing, death
I was warned this was an odd book by the librarian and the desk clerk when I came to pick up my books at the library today.

They were right. It's an odd book. But in a good way. I think.

On the surface, it's a how-to book for a pet funeral. But it's a little more than that, too. The book steps children through the process of letting go of something beloved, and reassures them that it's normal to hang onto our sadness after the funeral is over.

A helpful book for children dealing with loss.
Marcie Flinchum
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is all about how to have a backyard funeral for your pet. The amazing thing is that Lucianovic has managed to balance humor with heart. This is a must buy for every library. There are kids who NEED this book when a pet dies.
Cassandra Federman
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the only picture book I've found that deals with death (death of a pet specifically, but can easily be expanded upon) in an honest, heartfelt, and humorous way. There are lines that warm my heart and lines that make me laugh out loud. My father died last year and I looked everywhere for the right book to share with my child. The pickings are slim and a lot of the options are religious. I truly wish this had been available at the time. I'm buying this rare gem as soon as it hits the ...more
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
What a morbid, darkly humorous, deeply weird, and touching little book. Gorgeously illustrated and amusingly written, this is a book about pet loss that doesn't go the saccharine sweet gooey gooey route most kid's books do. The tone might be a miss for a super sensitive child, but for the somewhat serious it will strike a chord. The cover is a pretty good indicator for what you're going to get.
Elissa Sweet
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
A sweet and (slightly morbidly) funny picture book about what to do after a pet dies: how to bury them, and information on grieving. A good book for a child after the death of a pet, especially if there will be a backyard burial. Love the illustrations. Definitely meant for kids who have lost a pet, not a person close to them.
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is a game changer. It handles the topic of death with pathos, honesty, and humor -- and the latter is important. Many kids need levity when something sad happens. This book is also to be admired for its straightforward approach. It appreciates that kids can handle tough topics without having to cloak reality in euphemisms. Many children will benefit from the tone of this stellar work and the discussions that it engenders.
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic tells it like it is in THE END OF SOMETHING WONDERFUL. No euphemisms, no sugarcoating. It's an irreverent look at life, death, and the practicality of what comes next. It's also full of humor heart, and that's something wonderful in and of itself. George Ermos keeps things wry with his digital illustrations. (The page about choosing a box just about killed me. Pun intended.) Pair with THE DEAD BIRD.
James Serafino
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a heart warming and lovely book about a very tough topic. I think it works perfectly and hits all the right notes, with humor and charm. The artwork is fabulous and helps to tell the tale of the lost pet and how grief can feel.
Dylan Teut
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
Oh boy, this did not sit well with me. I see the intent, but it went way wrong and I was very uncomfortable reading the entire book. I can't see how this would console any child grieving the loss of a pet. It's a traumatic experience for the entire family, and to try to mask the hardship with dark humor seems somewhat cruel to children. Then at the end there is a bizarre illustration of one of the children who lost a pet looking longingly at a lobster in a tank in a seafood restaurant. I have no ...more
Engel Dreizehn
It was cute and very practical at sametime on how to deal with the lose of your beloved pet in gentle yet humorous way (felt guilty for giggling at times).
Baby Bookworm
Oct 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: our-reviews
Hello, friends! Our book today is The End Of Something Wonderful: A Practical Guide To A Backyard Funeral, written by Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic and illustrated by George Ermos.

Step one of holding a backyard funeral: you need “Something Dead”. A Something Dead is something wonderful that was once alive, but is now gone. Walking readers through steps like choosing what to say, whether or not to play music, what kind of box to choose, and even a “burial at sea” (i.e. toilet) for deceased fish, this
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This nonfiction picture book offers a guide to planning your dead pet’s backyard funeral. It is entirely practical, offering the first step as actually having something dead. With a mix of humor and heartfelt connection to grief and loss, the book offers real ideas for what to bury the creature in, what other items that creature might like in their grave with them, and even what sorts of stories to share at the funeral with everyone. The book ends with thoughts of visiting the grave when you ...more
Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received a review copy of this sweet picture book that serves as a gentle guide to saying goodbye to a beloved pet. Nearly every reader has experienced this sort of loss at one time or another. Through the years I've held backyard funerals for several cats, a dog, and a goldfish. It's never easy, but I think it's necessary to say goodbye as part of the grieving process. The book covers topics such as choosing the right burial box, arranging for music, flowers, and so on. This might be a good ...more
Kate F.
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My bookstore has this filed under "Issues," and I asked them if they could move it to the regular picture book shelves, because this is one that deserves to be stumbled across. Losing a pet (or non-pet) is a nearly-universal part of childhood, and this quirky, warm, funny picture book (with extremely charming illustrations) is a fantastic resource. I bought a copy for my family but also immediately bought one for my daughter's second grade classroom, where there are always pets and occasionally ...more
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Because everything in life, and death, is made better by a sprinkling of humor (I refuse to watch movies or shows that don’t have at least a little bit of humor), I absolutely love this picture book by Stephanie Lucianovic. Death is a natural cycle of life and we don’t need to be all grim-faced and hush-hush about it. This story provides a great way to introduce the topic to kids without traumatizing them. Parents and educators can use it as a starting point for important conversations about ...more
Richard Ho
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The death of a pet can be devastating for a child, but this book doesn't shield the reader from sadness or sugarcoat loss. Debut author Stephanie Lucianovic demystifies the transition from life to death with honesty, heart, and just the right amount of humor. Illustrator George Ermos brings that delicate balance to life in his gentle depictions of grieving kids and their bittersweet tributes to their departed pets. A much-needed reminder that tears and laughter are not mutually exclusive—even at ...more
The End of Something Wonderful: A Practical Guide to a Backyard Funeral by Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic is the weirdest, funniest, most delightful book about death for young kids I've ever seen. The "children's books about death" genre sorely needed something a little lighter than "So Your Grandma Died and Now We Have to Explain Death, I Guess," and this fits the bill. It's perfect for helping your kiddo cope with the loss of a beloved fish their pet cricket, especially if said kiddo tends toward ...more
Ending Well
An exceptional book for adults looking to have conversations about how to say goodbye to a beloved pet with their children. I would say good for ages 5+
Wonderful illustrations and just the right amount of wry humor mixed in with ideas for funerals and validation of feelings. My only wish is that is was slightly more accurate (ex the book suggests not burning kitty litter because it is “stinky” and not because it’s terrible for soil).
Jill Culmo
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading this book. It was witty and handled what probably should have been an emotional topic with ease. This book could be used to help children learn about loss and grief in a safe, supportive way.

This would be fun to use with elementary students reading procedural text.
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-lit, 2019
This book tempers grief with gentle humor, something any child (or pet parent) can use after losing a beloved pet. I keep returning to this book to look with appreciation at the illustrations and have taken to calling my two cats my Something Wonderfuls (except when they're causing mayhem, then they're my Something Awfuls).

Well worth a read and a buy for your bookshelves.
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
While the subject of grief and death is a heavy one, this book somehow makes a tough subject kid-relatable and with just-right touches of humor lightens the topic. I read this to my 5-yo a few days ago and she has already requested it three times!
Melinda Beatty
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Honestly, this picture book is one of the loveliest "dealing with grief" books for kids I've ever seen. (And it's not bad for adults either) It's warm and funny, while acknowledging all the strange, disorienting feelings that go along with losing "something wonderful".
Mary Lee
I like the idea, but the book seems too snarky for a serious topic. IMHO.
Kristina Jean Lareau
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picturebook
A great read for losing a pet--or in preparation for losing one. It is a sweet book, a little touch of silliness, but the perfect amount of compassion.
Miss Sarah
Sep 25, 2019 rated it liked it
An elementary guide to many pet funerals and how to conduct them.
So wonderful! I love love love this book.
Lynne Marie
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An amazing treatment of a difficult topic. And tasteful humor, too! So perfect for a little one who has lost something wonderful. I wish that I had written this book, it's so good!
Oct 05, 2019 added it
Thinking about this one. Review to come.
Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
This is a good book for children whose pet has died.
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Stephanie has done a few things in life. She has sold women shoes and frozen yogurt as well as smelly, expensive body lotion and smellier, even more expensive cheese. She has worked on a Jacques Pepin cooking show and been a cookbook editor. She has written about books, food, parenting, TV, vampire dating habits, cocktail trivia, and picky eating.

She has lived in Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, Ann