The Fix-It Man
EK Books, 2017
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
Dads can fix anything – that’s what dads do. Kites, kennels, teapots – whatever is needed. He can even cobble together a rug made of rainbows and old hugs for mum – but he can’t fix mum. Not even with his special peach and honey brew. Even the doctors and lots of rest can’t fix mum. Not even all the love in the world.
And no matter how hard they try, little girls can’t mend broken hearts – not hers, not dad’s and not Tiger’s. Well, not with stick tape or glue or needle and thread.. But dad has one more special thing up his sleeve and together they start to mend.
This is a poignant story of loss and one that will resonate with many children who have lost a parent or other loved one. With its gentle text and soft palette, even though it is sad it is not gloomy because the love between this family oozes from the page and from that, the hope is tangible. And the threads that bind the family are stronger and more enduring than nails, glue, sticky-tape or any other kind of man-made adhesive or fastening.
Grief is a natural part of life and while we might like to protect our children from it, nevertheless it happens and we often struggle helping them to cope with their loss. This book allows conversations to start and explores the way it is an emotion that we each express and deal with in our own way. Dad’s lap is cosy and warm but his face is crumpled and wet; pieces spill out from Tiger’s heart and little girls try to do what they can to paper over the cracks – but they are too wide. But together…
Whether shared as a 1:1 or as a class, it offers children the opportunity to talk about losses in their life and to learn that they are not alone in feeling lonely, lost, scared and even betrayed but there is love and it does get easier.