Lottie the Chicken deals with the loss of Aunt Mattie in this gently sad and sweetly funny picture book that explores the death of a loved one, in the tradition of Judith Viorst’s The Tenth Good Thing about Barney.
Aunt Mattie has died. But before she went, she got to say good-bye to Lottie. Then she got to follow a light to a bustling gate. (A gate that sounded a lot like a busy airport!) And there she found a crew of friends who were waiting to take off with her on a new journey.
Will Lottie and Herbie be able to overcome their sadness? They will, with time, and by taking a journey of their own—a journey filled with a little heartache, a lot of happiness, and a batch of Aunt Mattie’s favorite peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. (With bananas, of course!)
Best friends Lottie the chicken and Herbie the duck from Lottie's New Beach Towel and its sequels face the death of Lottie's Aunt Mattie. Their sorrow is palpable, yet the story requires familiarity with Mathers's characters. When Herbie learns that Mattie is ailing, he protests that she is a nurse. "She isn't sick; she's ninety-nine years old," Lottie replies. "You mean it's like her motor is all worn out?" Herbie asks, his metaphor complicating the information about nursing and old age. Lottie hurries to the hospital and finds Mattie gazing out the window at a billboard picturing a passenger jet; after a bit of conversation, Mattie closes her eyes peacefully. A wordless page pictures a group of birds welcoming Mattie to a plane labeled "Out of This World Airlines" the source of the book's euphemistic title. Mathers's landscape layout moves the action ahead in placid, thoughtful, comics-style panels; Herbie arrives to comfort Lottie, and the friends celebrate Mattie's life and scatter her ashes. Heartfelt though it is, this tale muddles the common experience of grief with distracting extraneous details. Ages 4 8.