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Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite
In A Sad Time for Tori by Michelle Nelson-Schmidt, Jonathan James worries about many things in his life. Fortunately, his friend, the Whatif Monster, is always there to offer support and guidance. When Jonathan discovers that his friend Tori has recently lost her grandmother, his first reaction is to avoid her because he does not understand how to help. Jonathan's mother encourages him to face his fears and visit Tori. Along with his friend Sam and the Whatif Monster, they try their best to cheer Tori up. However, Tori is very sad, she doesn't want to play their usual games and her only wish is to have her grandma back. The Whatif Monster has a plan but Jonathan is worried that it could make Tori even more upset. Will the Whatif Monster’s plan work and help Tori deal with her sadness?
There are so many excellent coping techniques for children throughout A Sad Time for Tori by Michelle Nelson-Schmidt. Although the plot is about overcoming grief, I feel this book can help young people deal with any type of change of circumstances they may face. The illustrations were beautiful and enhanced the story wonderfully; the details within the pictures would greatly aid discussion between the child and adult, where the child can discuss their feelings using the experiences and emotions of the characters. The characters also highlighted the importance of friendship, facing your fears, communicating your emotions, and having the courage to step outside your comfort zone. The Whatif Monster is not only a highly intelligent character, he also brings a touch of humor at times. The stages of grief are also covered perfectly for a young person to understand. I loved the comparison between human life ending and the natural cycle of nature. This well-written and compassionate book is a must-have for any child.