The Fix-It Man
written by Dimity Powell; illustrated by Nicky Johnston
2017 (EK Books)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
I make us tea like Dad did. The kitchen smells just like before...
But I can't get it right. The cracks are too wide. And tea seeps all over the floor.
A young girl's dad can fix anything. Furniture, kites, and knots are no match for Dad. Accidents are no cause for crisis as Dad is able to find a solution with the help of a few tools. He makes peach and honey tea to help Mom through the days when she doesn't feel well. Music and laughter fill the house. Even a broken teapot is patched back together. Unfortunately, Dad can't fix what's most important. In a heartbreaking wordless spread, we see Dad and daughter looking out the window. Readers can infer that Mom has passed away. In the text that follows, the daughter speaks of the Fix-It Man now being broken. Her beloved stuffed animal Tiger is in need of repairs, but Dad isn't up to it. The daughter tries to fix Tiger, but falls apart herself and cries "I can't fix him, Dad." It's at this point that Dad rallies and says "Yes we can." From then on, the two of them help fix each other.
Achingly beautiful, The Fix-It Man is a gentle touch that can help children and adults deal with the loss of a loved one. Seemingly small moments, like a spilled cup of tea, represent deep emotions. With examples like the patching of a teddy bear starting the mending of two hearts, this book will lead to important discussions about how people move on in a time of loss.