A sensitive, beautifully illustrated story about loss and the processes of grief to support young children.
The waterholes of the African Savannah 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.
Carefully researched about the stages of grief for young children, Sarah J Dodd sensitively portrays this in the response and actions of Ekundayo to help children express and share how they are feeling with those around them. Ekundayo’s aunt and father provide words of understanding, reassurance and comfort, and the message that the love of Ekundayo’s mother shines on, telling of a greater Love that may not see but never goes away and is everywhere.
At the end, Debbie Duncan also provides helpful advice for parents and carers as consider how to talk about death and dying with young children.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 36 members
What a wonderful book for children dealing with grief. I adore the story and the illustrations. I would love a hard copy of this book.
Grief is hard to talk about, and this book beautifully talks about it. I like how it also touches on environmental issues. And I'm sure many children would be more careful around animals after reading this cause they'll feel closer to them. I love the illustrations and the colour palette. Great book.
Beyond the Setting Sun is a beautifully illustrated book which tells the story of a young elephant whose Mother sadly dies. The story is sensitively written in a way that children would understand. It is primarily a children's book but as a 40 year old who lost my Mum 4 years ago I can relate to the young elephants feelings and feel that this book could help both adults and children with their grief.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for my ARC.
This beautiful book is an utter joy. It approaches the difficult subject of parental loss in such a beautiful, engaging way and I can see it becoming a go to book for teachers and those working with young children. My mum who is 87 and has dementia, lost her mum when she was 5 and wasnt told for years what had happened. If only there had been books like this around then. I read it to her and she was visibly touched by the messages of the book and I could see her breathing calmer.
Such a beautifully sad book that is a great way to show children what grief is after the loss of a parent.
Fantastic illustrations too .
Great book - would recommend
This book deals with the death of a parent, its beautifully done. My heart did break a little for the baby elephant, but it is the circle of life.
The illustrations are gorgeous.
Beyond the Setting Sun is due to be published in July 2021. I received a digital preview copy via NetGalley.
In the African Savannah, beautifully portrayed by Biscoe's illustrations, very hot and tired Ekundayo and his mum, along with their herd, search for water to drink. Mum keeps Ekundayo distracted by singing to him. The rains finally arrive, but too late for mum.
Ekundayo at first refuses to believe she has died and tries singing to her.
As his loss sinks in, Ekundayo refuses help from his aunt and he becomes very sad, angry and frustrated, wandering off on his own. With the support and understanding of his aunt and father, Ekundayo learns to remember his mum through the happy memories and the songs she sang to him, realising her love and influence will always be with him.
The end papers are glorious silhouettes of elephants travelling against the backdrop of a stunning evening sky.
This is an excellent, sensitive picture book to help support discussions about death, and the emotions surrounding it, with children. There is useful information about grief at the back, as well as some links to support.
Ohh, this book! It’s so sad but so beautiful. Beyond the Setting Sun follows the grieving process of Ekundayo the elephant after he loses his mother. The language is so simple but so powerful, breaking down our response to loss into something that is easier for a child to process. You can see Ekundayo going through the stages of grieving. This book is definitely essential reading if you need to help a small child through the loss of a loved one.
A story of the grief of a young elephant losing his mother - a story shared so beautifully and sensitively.
This book deals with difficult subject matter through its descriptions of the young elephant's thoughts and feelings but without being overwhelming or dark. Readers also get to see the value of the support of the family when grieving.
The illustrations are a pleasure to look at - vibrant yet gentle and so fitting for the tone of the story.
I highly recommend this book and hope it will become a book that is found in all school libraries.
The elephants in this book were absolutely beautiful. It is heartbreaking for the baby elephant to have to experience death. I think it. Gives a great message to kids and they would be able to understand and perhaps feel better about death or the loss of a loved one after reading it,
This is a beautifully illustrated book about a young elephant and his mother. It starts by emphasising their loving, special relationship. When the rains stop and the waterhole dries up, there is not enough water to go around and the mother dies from dehydration. It takes a while for the young elephant to realise what his mother's death actually means and explores some of the questions he has.
It is a nice story and one which may be useful to read to a child if their pet dies. However, I would not use it with a child who had lost a relative as I don't think it goes deep enough into the complexities of grief.
At the waterhole, the young elephant drinks all of the available water, leaving none for his mother. I wonder if children may pick up on this as causing, or at least contributing to the mother's death? It might make an interesting talking point as children often feel guilty when someone dies, wondering if it was their fault.
I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I am in tears as I write this review. This is a sensitive and heartwarming little story about a baby elephant, and his family who help him to accept the death of his mother. It is about deep love, and how support and understanding can help someone to come to terms with, and overcome, grief. The book is very well written and the illustrations are absolutely beautiful. Every parent should read the advice for parents and carers that comes at the end of the book. Truly wonderful – my heart is melting! I’ll be ordering this for my grandchildren.
A great little read for young learners. It kept mine captivated from the start. Both myself and my children really enjoyed this real. It was a lovely story and I can’t wait to read it to my class when we return to school.
We all know that elephants are compassionate animals and will mourn and grieve the death of their family members. They have also been known to stay with a dead elephants body for days and weeks at a time. It is no wonder that a book about grief would be so perfectly fitting to these animals.
I wasn’t prepared for how emotional this book would make me feel! So incredibly sad within the first few pages and then fantastically uplifted by the last! Ekundayo steps through his grief in many stages, first not believing his mother death, then sadness and anger, confusion and desperation and then with the help of his family a realisation of love and hope.
This is an excellently written, emotive and beautiful story. The beautiful illustrations give the elephants such charm.
I love the advice for parents and careers and additional resources at the back of the book. Incredibly needed to give the reader information and support. I would recommend this book to schools and libraries providing well being assistance to children and families.
A very touching story about baby Elephant Ekundayo who due to a drought in Central Africa leads to the Death of his Mother .The Story which is beautifully illustrated by Cee Biscoe shows the various stages of grief a person goes through when there is a death in the family be it a relative or close friend. This Book might help some children , sadly others find death difficult to deal with because Parents don't like to talk about this subject even though it is part of our circle of Life! We watch programmes on TV about Farming & Nature & then afterwards I'm amazed to hear how many people write in & complain that a dead animal was shown , if dealt with forthrightly death is never a hard thing , that person or creature may not be with us physically but they live on in our treasured memories of them , therefore they live eternally within the Circle of Life .
Life is not always beautiful it can be hard & even cruel & children need to be told these things so that they can learn how to cope & also how to grow from these things within that circle of life . We are Born ,we live , we die !
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A story full of love and the bond between mother and child.
A gentle way to help children understand death and grief.
This is undoubtedly a sad story, but it is filled with compassion and hope going forwards.
It is heart-breaking when little Ekundayo doesn’t understand that his mother has died, he thinks she will soon wake up. However, at his mother’s funeral he realises that this won’t happen and begins to cry. We see Ekundayo’s emotions of denial, sadness, disengagement, and anger through the story. With the support of his Aunt and his Poppa they help him to remember his Momma and the special song she used to sing when he was sad, which brings happiness and hope back for Ekundayo.
Extremely cute illustrations throughout, and a lovely section at the end with tips about how to discuss death and grief with children and further resources available.
Thank you Netgalley for the e-arc.
So beautiful!!! Even though my children are yet to experience loss they still enjoyed this and it allowed us to have natural conversations that will hopefully leave a blueprint in their little minds
Good grief! This had me in tears at a few points throughout the book. I had to stop to compose myself before I could carry on.
This is a very emotional book, but that is a good thing because this book is all about emotions and tackling the concepts of death and grief with young children. It relays death and grief in a way young children can understand and relate to. I really like the tips and support for parents and carers at the end of the book. It is thoughtful and supportive for those who may purchase this in the event of a death in the family.
I really liked that they used elephants in this story. Elephants are well-known for mourning their dead and visiting the bodies and bones of dead relatives, something akin to humans.
This was such a heartfelt little story and it pulled on my heartstrings.
The illustrations were lovely and they really suited the book too. My daughter loves watching animal documentaries and it doesn’t really phase her one animal eating another as it is all part of the circle of life and nature but this one did make her ask quite a few questions so it was good to be able to talk around the subject in a loose way.
We lost my grandma just before Christmas and this book really helped my daughter understand what had happened to a degree, she is still only young and with lockdown she had not seen her so much so it was more a distant relative to her so she could relate to it, this would work for the loss of a pet to explain that it was not the child’s fault too and sometimes nature takes over.
It is 5 stars from me for this one, a great way to discuss grief and loss.
This is a simple but touching and beautifully illustrated story which would provide a way to discuss an important topic with young children. I can easily see this being used in PSHE lessons to start discussions with students maybe at the higher end of Key Stage 1 (age 5-6 years). The information and advice given for adults at the end of the book is also very useful.
This was a very sad story about a baby elephant losing his mum and I nearly cried reading it! It was told by the author in a very honest and compassionate way. The book has a lovely ending with the baby elephant remembering his mum by singing the song she had taught him, with his dad and aunty. The illustrations of the elephants and scenery were stunning throughout the book. This would be a very useful book to have in school or at home to help children to talk about death and loss. I would definitely recommend schools to buy a copy. The author has also included some helpful advice and links at the end to help anyone dealing with the loss of a loved one. Thank you NetGalley and Lion Hudson Ltd for this ARC.
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 and 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.
This was a lovely book. I just reread it three times in a row!
I requested this based on the cute cover and the little blurb and was not disappointed. Not only were the illustrations stunning, I was also moved by the story of Ekundayo, a young elephant who loses his mother. This was cute, obviously sad, but hopeful. I loved the story and how the other adults were there to support the young elephant and share his grief. On a few pages, we can see other animals come together and help, I thought it was a lovely representation of what a family can look like: many people, not necessarily related by blood, who are very different but support each other during rough times.
We see Ekundayo go through different stages of grief and emotions, from denial to anger and sadness. I thought it was a really nice way to show that having strong emotions is okay and normal when you lose someone.
I loved that it included a page with advice for parents and carers on how to approach death and loss with children. This is useful to anyone.
Important notes/content warnings: This is a book about the loss of a parent. Though the publisher is angled towards Christian faith, this story doesn’t have religious aspects and I thought it could speak to anyone. Death is a sensitive topic that has an important place in various religions, so I loved that the story let people interpret things their own way. There is the idea of a “greater love” that could be associated to god, but the illustration also suggests that it’s about the people that surround you, and that’s how I personally read it.
That being said, I was disappointed after checking out the four websites/links included as resources in the advice page. At least some of them have discriminatory views (on topics like gender or abortion for example). This was disappointing, because the story itself was being inclusive, in my opinion, so I was expecting the same from the resources. It would’ve been better to look for links with more diversity, because these four websites will not be useful to many readers. I think this book should be for all children and families (especially because based on the description it is supposed to be for everyone, nothing suggests that it isn’t, it isn’t marketed as a Christian book, the only way to know it is was to look at the publisher’s info, and even then... it could be Christian AND diverse) and if you want to provide links and resources, please provide resources that will help readers no matter what their background is.
I am aware though that the advice page was not written by the author of the book, and I don’t want to let it diminish my enjoyment of Ekundayo’s story. After giving it a bit of thinking, I’m still taking out the 5th star because of the resources.
Beyond the Setting Sun by Sarah is a feeling! It's like standing on a mountain top and viewing the calm ocean. You know the strength and dangers the ocean holds and you are amazed at how it chose to be quiet and still at the moment. Death is like an ocean. And Sarah chose to keep it calm. A perfect present to a child dealing with the death of a loved one.
Thank you Lion Hudson and Net Galley for the e-ARC!
This is a beautiful and very sensitive children’s picture book dealing with the idea of grief and losing someone close to you. Baby elephant Ekundayo and his momma enjoy their days together in the African Savannah. But when there is no water for Ekundayo’s momma to drink, she doesn’t wake up after falling asleep. Poor Ekundayo has to deal with coming to terms with the death of his mother, understanding what happened, while slowly also learning that he has support from his family.
This is such an emotional picturebook which made me both smile and cry a little too. Ekundayo is such a cute baby elephant and the time he spends with his mother is lovely. While they search for water to drink, Ekundayo’s mother speaks and sings to him, often in a fun rhyme. When the two lie down to sleep after searching all day for enough water to drink and not finding it, Ekundayo wakes up the next day but his mother doesn’t. As the other elephants and Ekundayo’s aunt try to help him understand what has happened, Ekundayo at first doesn’t believe his mother has truly gone. Later he tries to find her but on his search encounters something else instead.
The story is a beautiful one and quite simple, yet really powerful in its message at the same time. It shows well how grief can affect a child, first with them not understanding it and confusion over phrases that mean death, how children can misunderstand what has happened. Ekundayo’s grief is so sad to see but the story does have a positive ending even though Ekundayo’s mother dies and doesn’t return. The story shows how a supportive family and time helps Ekundayo, and any child really, to recover from such a sad event in their life and I love how sensitively this topic of family death and grief was handled in a picture book. It is a book that will leave you with mixed emotions though and I think some very sensitive children may find Ekundayo’s story hard to read, especially if those reading it are not suffering any grief at the time, I know I would have as a child.
The ilustrations are so beautiful! All the illustrations look lie the one on the from cover, they are lovely, colourful and show all of the animals in Africa well. I love how wonderful each illustration is and how some appear on double pages, showing each elephant and animal as an individual. The elephants and especially Ekundayo’s emotions are clearly visible on his face and through the actions you see, and I just love how detailed the images are with some of the other animals and birds too. They appear throughout the story and show hapiness and sadness and understanding of what is happening in each scene of the story too. The illustrations really do make this story all the better and easier to read and understand for young children and I would recommend this book for the illustrations alone!
The book has some great advice at the end on how to help children deal with grief which I found quite valuable and the ideas for adults on things that children can do to cope or how children may react in grief can help some adults who may be struggling with the grief at the same time and may not know how best to help their children at such a difficult time. There are some great ideas and resources including some website links as well and I think this added extra makes for a great addition to the book.
I do like this book overall, the ending is a good and positive one despite the sad event that takes place, and although it can make for emotional reading, it’s a book that has a wonderful message of hope and love and it might help some children who may be going through the death of a parent or loved one to cope a little easier being able to understand what’s happening and be able to discuss their feelings in relation to Ekundayo’s. A lovely, though also sad book that I would recommend.
This book is illustrated beautifully and the pictures express the story so well. The story is heartbreaking and one in which it will help children with the grieving process. This book should be used carefully and in a sensitive way. It is a must to use alongside other books that help young children to explore their own feelings of grieve. Definitely one I would recommend to have on your library.
Today's read was a particularly difficult one, for it was a heartbreaking story tackling the sensitive subject of death. Here is what we thought of 'Beyond the Setting Sun' by Sarah J. Dodd
Bella - / 10
I really love this book, though it is a bit sad when the mummy elephant died and that the baby elephant really wanted his mummy - it made us both cry. But at the end, he felt a lot better and that was nice. I think this would be a really good book for if a boy or girl's loved one died, because its a really nice story and would be really helpful.
Charlie - 10/10
'Beyond the Setting Sun' follows a baby elephant - Ekundayo, who sadly loses their mother in the African Savannah.
It is an incredibly poignant picture book that tackles bereavement wonderfully, it is beautifully worded and would be a worthy edition to any child's book shelf, especially those who are sadly going through a loss.
Dodd has clearly researched the subject well and has produced not only a story, but gives guidance, advice and resources for parents and carers to use when talking about death with young children.
What attracted my interest in this book was the beautiful illustrations, but the story was so moving and heartbreaking.
It's been made to help children with grief and I think it's such a beautiful book with such a powerful and meaningful message.
I enjoyed the book and am very grateful to have been given the chance to give a review.
The illustrations of this book are simply beautiful. A story of a young elephant who's mummy dies. This book gently deals with the feelings of grief and I think children would find it a good guide to the feelings that happen after a loved one passes away.. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review this book.
As a family who've very recently suffered loss and looked for books to help our four year old understand a little more, this book is perfect. It's gentle both in words and illustrations. Often books about death can be quite dark in their palette, yet Beyond the Setting Sun is rich and warm. It's filled with the love of friends and family to help you through difficult times. I'd very much recommend this book to help talk to children about death.