The Tenth Good Thing About Barney
A classic book, The Tenth Good Thing About Barney is the story of how a little boy feels and what he does when his cat dies. It’s a helpful book to open a conversation with young children about death and what happens after death.
Age it’s best for: 4-8
Why your child will love it
The Tenth Good Thing About Barney is sweet, simple, and honest. Children who are trying to understand death will be able to connect with the story and with the boy’s feelings, and to learn from his experience.
The book shows children how sad the boy feels, how his parents comfort him in different ways, and some of the rituals of a funeral.
The Tenth Good Thing About Barney also talks about what happens to a body after it’s buried, and whether heaven exists, which are questions many children wonder about and adults often have a difficult time answering. Watch this short video to see how the book deals with these questions.
The illustrations are colourless sketches. They’re not the most engaging, but they do fit with the sad mood of the book.
Why you will love it
The Tenth Good Thing About Barney helps adults explain death and what happens after death, and does it in a simple and straightforward way. It’s specifically about the death of a cat, but the feelings and questions it addresses are the same for the death of any loved one.
If your belief is that people go to heaven, this book may not be a good choice for your family, because The Tenth Good Thing About Barney leaves open the possibility that heaven does not exist.
Make sure you read the book on your own first so you know what’s coming and can try to think of and prepare for questions your child might ask.
Beyond the bookHere are some things you and your child can talk about after reading The Tenth Good Thing About Barney:
- If your child is dealing with a recent death, ask them to name 10 good things about the person or animal who has died.
- What does your child think about the conversation the boy and his friend have about heaven? Talk with your child about what you believe.
- Ask if your child has any questions about the book or about death. Let them know it’s good to talk about death and sadness and missing someone, and that you’re always there for them.