Review of “Drew & The Grief Thief”
by Dr. William Klinger
Thank you to Dr. William Klinger for this review of our book, "Drew & The Grief Thief." It will appear in the "Caring Connections" newsletter for a grief support group at the University of Utah Health and Hospitals Clinics.
Drew & The Grief Thief: A Story For Children And Adults Experiencing Death & Grief
Lisa Zoll, Jason Schwartzman, Lynn Shiner, Eric Cleckner-Illustrator
Drew & The Grief Thief is a tender tale of a young boy named Drew and Sprinkles his pet hamster. Through delightful illustrations and an insightful text the reader accompanies Drew through both the difficult journey of grieving the loss of his furry friend. While this book may on the surface may appear to be for children only, it actually provides adult readers with insights and practical tools/tips to help children who have lost a significant person or pet.
Grief is a challenging topic to address with any population and Drew & The Grief Thief provides adults a platform for tackling this topic to help children and themselves. It is an all too common occurrence for well-meaning persons to say and/or do the wrong thing while hoping to comfort someone who is grieving. Words and actions of family and friends unfortunately can range from helpful to harmful when a child or adult is grieving. The authors wisely use repetition to tie ideas together and make concepts easier to understand. One can understand how Drew’s “happy” world was prior to the loss of Sprinkles; how the wrong responses of each family member to the loss of Sprinkles altered his “safe” world and how a “hopeful” world is possible when they recognized how to respond in a helpful and healing manner.
While the sweet illustrations and text are easy enough for a child to understand the true message is really for adults. In our longing to comfort others from their loss we often add to their grieving. When one loses a loved one (from a furry friend to a huggable human) that loss results in grief. Due to the complex nature of the topic of grief it is recommended that children 3-10 read this book accompanied by an adult. It is the reviewer’s recommendation that ALL adults read this book so that they are better prepared to understand grief and ways in which they can be a healer when others are in need of care, comfort, and community when faced with the loss of a loved one.
The loss of a loved takes time. Time has a far better chance of healing all wounds if we all learn to Listen, Empathize, Validate, Educate, Legitimize, and Support the griever. Drew has a great deal to offer helping you become a Healer rather than a Grief Thief.
William R. Klinger, PhD
Retired Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Penn State University College of Medicine