My big, dumb, invisible dragon

Imagine the weight of profound loss.

Perhaps it looks like a dragon sitting on top of your head.

My Big, Dumb, Invisible Dragon by Angie Lucas is an illustrated picture book for children dealing with loss. Grief is a heavy topic but Angie together with the illustrator Birgitta Sif show that although loss is painful and hard and horrible, we can move through the pain and find joy again.

The message is the book is that healing takes time, and this is absolutely fine. It is also fine to experience a wide range of emotions. This book is for any child who experience loss and it also enhances understanding if someone in the classroom experience loss.

The story is about a young boy who loses his mother. An invisible dragon flies in and perches on top of his head. The dragon is an unwelcome guest who follows the boy to school and even crashes his birthday party. The nature of the loss is never directly mentioned but the remarks like “We had to get used to movie night without her famous peanut brittle popcorn,” as the child snuggles with a sad-looking adult as well as visible clues like an extra apron in the kitchen.

I love the semi-transparent dragon who never looks threatening. Yet, the dragon is big and present, and the boy tries several tricks to get rid of the dragon. It is a powerful moment when he embraces the dragon: “I’d reach up and pull his big, dark wings around me.” By the end the dragon has not vanished, just like the loss and pain never vanish, but it has shrunk so it can be more manageable

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