Transitions can be tough, but Doerrfeld (The Rabbit Listened) counsels readers to remember that the end of one pleasant experience is often the doorway into another. The star of her story, a brown-skinned girl with black hair and rosy cheeks, says a tearful “Bye, Mom” before boarding the school bus: “Every goodbye,” Doerrfeld begins, “leads to a hello.” A page turn shows the girl meeting a new friend at school: “Hi, I’m Charlie,” a plaid-jacketed child with white skin and pink glasses announces. Bold, crayonlike outlines render homey details (animal name tags on school cubbies, whipped cream on hot chocolate, and an extravagant blanket fort) as the friends share experiences. The text develops the theme throughout, as when the seasons change and when the household goldfish dies (“Goodbye to an empty bowl... is hello to a full heart”). And when farewells are truly difficult—Charlie’s house is shown sold and belongings are packed up—“Goodbye to holding tight... is hello to letting go.” Doerrfeld’s compassionate take on loss makes a good case that farewells are the start of something even better. Ages 4–8. (July)
The BCCB 2019 Blue Ribbons List
“Doerrfeld is carving a lovely niche with sweet, deeply attuned books for the littlest audience . . . There are tears, then letters, and then, of course a new friend. All along Doerrfeld’s wonderfully soft, jaunty illustrations convey the spark and vulnerability of the preschool years.” —New York Times Book Review
"Tender and observant, this is a book that will inspire readers ages 3 to 7 to notice the hello-goodbye moments in their own lives." —Wall Street Journal
★ "We’ve seen treatments of friendship loss before, but this turns that story into a tender and friendly exploration of life’s balance, deftly escalating from matter-of-fact changes to harder ones." —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review
"From the author of The Rabbit Listened, this suggested first purchase title speaks to social emotional learning, views the passage of time and change through the eyes of a child, and allows a glimpse at the ups and downs of growing up. For young readers in all libraries." —School Library Journal
"A warming study of friendship, loss, and new friendship." —Kirkus
"At its best, though, this book encourages a positive outlook on change as well as making friends." —Booklist
PreS-Gr 1—Finding the positive within change, the young girl in this book also finds a close emotional tie with a friend as 'goodbye' precedes a 'hello' in each moment of her life. As text follows a predictable pattern, pairs of images may move the reader from one season to the next—"Goodbye to snowmen…is hello to puddles." Or it may speak of loss and things found—"Goodbye to an empty (fish) bowl… is hello to a full heart." Through small detailed scenes or full-page cartoon digital art, the children's faces reflect emotions from joy through tears as a friendship grows, until one moves away and 'goodbye' leads to a 'hello' to the possibilities of tomorrow. VERDICT From the author of The Rabbit Listened, this suggested first purchase title speaks to social emotional learning, views the passage of time and change through the eyes of a child, and allows a glimpse at the ups and downs of growing up. For young readers in all libraries.—Mary Elam, Learning Media Services, Plano ISD, TX
With the help of family, friends, and passing time, Stella learns that "every goodbye… / …leads to a hello."
The old adage "every ending leads to a new beginning" springs warmly to life as Doerrfeld's gentle prose and soft, lively illustrations meander through an idyllic childhood. Young Stella may be reluctant to leave Mom and venture to school, but Stella quickly finds a best friend in bespectacled Charlie, and the two become inseparable. As seasons pass, they bid goodbye to beloved times and pastimes only to joyfully usher in new ones: Playing outside becomes playing inside, winter becomes summer, day becomes night. The repetitive prose pattern breaks hauntingly in the throes of Stella's grief when Charlie moves away. Resilience, however, is this story's driving force, and an ending montage of Stella mailing drawings to Charlie and meeting a new friend assures readers that every goodbye does, in truth, lead to a hello. Doerrfeld's characteristically smudgy, minimalist renderings of homes, getaway spots, and school scenes replete with a racially diverse cast imbue the story with an intimate, timeless feel; Stella is South Asian, and Charlie presents white. If the text is occasionally somewhat saccharine in its optimism, it nonetheless celebrates the ups and downs of life with remarkable heart.
A warming study of friendship, loss, and new friendship. (Picture book. 4-8)