Set to be published on 23rd July, Beyond the Setting Sun is written by Sarah J. Dodd and illustrated by Cee Biscoe. Set in the African Savannah, the waterholes have dried up and there has not been enough to drink for some of the animals. Ekundayo, a young elephant, struggles to understand the loss of his mother, but the support of his family help and guide him through.
A sensitive and touching story about loss, Beyond the Setting Sun is a delicately-handled and beautifully-illustrated story for young children who are processing grief that also offers guidance for parents to offer support.
I read this with my four-year-old who hasn’t experienced the death of anybody close, but we have always been open with him about the process. This book allowed him to question what happened to Ekundayo’s mother, to understand that it’s okay to feel sad and angry, and he found comfort in seeing how Ekundayo’s family supported him during a difficult time.
This is everything that I would want from a children’s story about grief and Cee Biscoe’s illustration suit the story perfectly. The landscapes are beautifully toned and the animals are friendly-looking and welcoming. I especially love how the days brighten up with Ekundayo’s mood, highlighting how the sun will shine again when the storm has passed.
The book ends with a page written by Debbie Duncan who discusses the stages of grief for young children and provides helpful advice for parents and carers on how to talk about death. It’s definitely a book that I’m going to recommend should anyone I know need to help their young ones deal with such a sensitive topic.
Beyond the Setting Sun by Sarah J. Dodd
Illustrator: Cee Biscoe
Release Date: 23rd July 2021
Print Length: 32 pages
Publisher: Lion Children’s Books