The story of two siblings and soul mates, Lizzy (‘Friz’) and Benny. Friz adores her quirky, strong, crazy orange hat-wearing older brother, who taught her how to play frisbee. Their life changes immeasurably when he becomes ill, and he isn’t going to get better. They continue to spend special moments together, but as Benny’s health declines, he is often too weak and tired to play. Friz naturally struggles with her emotions, and desperately clings to hope that she can help him recover. When it is time for Benny to make his final journey to the hospice, Friz hides his beloved hat (reasoning that if he can’t bring his hat, he can’t go to the hospice, and won’t die). The story continues beyond Benny’s death, and follows the family’s grieving process, concluding on a positive note with Friz finding a new friend to play frisbee with.
This is a powerful, touching and beautiful story, and certainly one of the best bereavement picture books we have read. Extremely well-researched and accurately reflecting real life, Friz’s experiences are skilfully portrayed in both the words and pictures, and should ring true with children who have had similar experiences. Benny’s strengths and individuality and his sister’s love for him shine through strongly. It is an immensely sad story which doesn’t shy away from expressing the rawness of grief (and very emotional to read) but it is also filled with hope and optimism, the family showing great resilience and support for one another, and how it is possible to recover from even the most tragic circumstances. We loved the clever use of Benny’s favourite orange hat in the story, which perfectly symbolised his personality and the sibling’s relationship with one another. Highly recommended.