Book Reviews

Book Review: Goodbye to Goodbyes (Lauren Chandler)

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Goodbye to Goodbyes: A True Story About Jesus, Lazarus, and an Empty Tomb

Main Story and Illustrations

Lauren Chandler humorously tells the story of Jesus and Lazarus for kids. As with the other books in this series, the illustrations are superb. Lazarus gets sick, and is doing quite poorly. Martha wakes up in the middle of the night realizing she should ask Jesus, while Mary sits on the side of her, unimpressed and with bags under her eyes. Of course Jesus could heal him. He healed blind men, deaf men, and made sick people walk and leap. This would be no problem.

Jesus gets their letter, and then…reads it…and then….sits. He does nothing. He doesn’t ride to Bethany on a donkey, or “run until his side hurt.” While packing up their fish, Jesus tells the disciples that they won’t have to tell Lazarus “goodbye forever” (which is a good thing because he was already dead by then, so they would have missed their chance). When Jesus does tell them Lazarus is dead, there is picture of the whole gang sitting around a camp fire. A few of them are telling stories of something they once did with Lazarus. What’s fun here is that there are no words in the text bubbles. Only pictures. Even small kids can understand what is being expressed here. That’s one thing I like about all of these books. The people in the pictures rarely speak words. They speak pictures so that the little ones can read and understand too.

Of course, you know the rest of the story. Chandler tells the story in a simple fashion that expresses Jesus’ faithfulness to his powerful word. He doesn’t just heal the blind, deaf, and sick, but he can raise the dead too by mere words. She explains that Jesus himself had to die (something that is seen in every book I’ve read so far in this series), but like Lazarus he walked out of his tomb. He would ever die again, and we will see him  “in the land where there are no more goodbyesnot ever.”

This is an excellent book to have when goodbyes (such as death) come. This is poignantly seen in the last few pages of the book. Chandler writes “We all have to say goodbye sometimes. Some of the are short goodbyes. Some are long. Sometimes, a friend of Jesus who we love gets sick, and we’re sad. Sometimes, because they die, we have to say goodbye. It feels like a forever goodbye.” There are four pictures illustrated on these two pages. The first is of Grandma waving goodbye to her granddaughter at school (short goodbye). Next, the parents are going on vacation, so the kids give them a long goodbye as they stay with Grandma. Next, the wife and kids walk out of the hospital room while Dad stays with Grandma who is lying in the hospital bed. They all have tears in their eyes as it feels like a forever goodbye. Finally, Dad is explaining to the daughter that Jesus came to end goodbyes.

I was actually surprised at how much this touched me. I’ve yet to have anyone close to me die, and perhaps that’s part of what was so moving. Everyone I care for is still alive, and they will all one day die. But “Jesus came to end goodbyes. And one day, Jesus and all his friends will say goodbye to goodbyesforever!”

“He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
    and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
    for the Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 25:8

Highly recommended. 

Find it on Amazon and the Good Book Company!

Disclosure: I received this book free from The Good Book Company. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.

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