This story is all told in Alex’s own words, and accompanied by eye-catching and colourful illustrations to match the emotions of the page.
Alex tells us that he is three, and that he’s about to go off on a boys’ weekend with Daddy – his mum and baby sister, Olivia are staying at home. Alex describes the fun he has with his daddy at the start of their little holiday. The next morning, Daddy starts to feel unwell. He asks Alex to find assistance, and Alex tries to find help. An ambulance arrives, and Daddy is taken to hospital.
Some time later, Mummy arrives at the holiday park, carrying Alex’s toy ambulance from home. Alex is surprised to see her. He asks, “Is Daddy coming back in a minute?” Mummy kneels down and hugs Alex, and explains that the bumping noise in her chest is her heart. She goes on to describe what happens when a heart stops beating. Then, Alex’s mummy explains very clearly that Daddy’s heart has stopped beating, and he is never coming back.
At first, Alex needs clarification, and asks, “Has he gone to work?” Mummy reiterates the message that Daddy is not coming back. Alex asks where Daddy is, and she explains that some people like to think of a dead person being up in the sky, or as a star. Alex doesn’t want Daddy to be a star – he wonders if daddy asks politely enough, he may be able to come back down. Mummy explains that Daddy will have done all he could to come back down, but the ambulance people couldn’t fix him. They did their best, but he was too badly broken. Mummy reassures Alex that finding help was the best thing to do, so Daddy wasn’t alone when he died, and that Alex did a great job. It is not his fault.
Mummy hugs Alex, and says that they can talk about Daddy every day and always remember how much he loved them. Alex explains that the next few days are very busy. Many people visit. The phone rings a lot. Mummy tells Alex that tomorrow, they will go to a place called a crematorium to talk about Daddy.
The next day, a big black car arrives. Alex is impressed with it, and Mummy has to take pictures for him. Alex plays cars in the crematorium with his auntie while Mummy, Grandpa and many friends tell funny stories about Daddy.
Later, at bed time, Alex wants to know who will look after him when Mummy dies. Mummy reassures him that hopefully, she won’t die until she’s very old and Alex is grown up. But together, they come up with a list of all the people who would be there to look after Alex and Olivia if Mummy dies. It’s an impressive list full of people they all love.
Alex is still concerned, this time about how many more sleeps he has until he has to die. Mummy takes her children to the beach, where they collect and count hundreds of shells, and Mummy reassures Alex that the number of shells is tiny compared to the number of sleeps Alex has before he has to die.
At the end of the book, Alex tells us that he is now four (and that he’s having a monster party and is really excited!). Sometimes, he still has bad dreams, so he tells people about them – either Mummy or a friend or his teachers. Everybody is good at listening when Alex says “Excuse me, please, I am feeling sad today because my daddy died.”
Alex says he still misses his daddy, and wishes he could come back. He talks about him every day, but still has fun with Mummy and his little sister.
Mummy says “It’s okay to be sad, but it’s okay to be happy, too.”
And, says Alex, they are.