The Hare-Shaped Hole - Story Snug

The Hare-Shaped Hole by John Dougherty & Thomas Docherty

The Hare-Shaped Hole sensitively deals with the subject of grief and loss. This beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book is both heartbreaking and heartwarming and can support a child who is grieving the loss of a loved one.

The Story: Bertle, a turtle, and Hertle, a hare, are best friends forever. But one day Hertle isn’t there any more. As Bertle tries to come to terms with the hare-shaped hole in his life he meets Gerda. Gerda comforts and listens to Bertle and sensitively and kindly helps him find a way to come to terms with his loss.

Bertle and Hertle have a wonderful friendship. Despite being two completely different species of animal they enjoy lots of different activities together and when Hertle has gone we feel Bertle’s pain. We empathise with the little turtle as he experiences disbelief, sadness and anger while trying to make sense of the massive hare-shaped hole in his life. But Gerda is adorably kind, she’s a comforting older bear whose own experience helps Bertle come to terms with his loss, she encourages him to talk about his happy memories with Hertle.

We love Thomas Docherty’s illustrations and the way that the dark hare-shaped hole contrasts with the natural colours of the woodland where the animals live. The dark shape dominates many of the spreads as Bertle grieves and shouts but as he gradually thinks about his happy memories of Hertle the hole fills up with colour.

The Hare-Shaped Hole is a great book to initiate class and small group discussions about losing a loved one or a family pet. Children will immediately relate to the adorable characters and can be encouraged to share their own happy memories of people or pets that they have lost.

Age Range: 3 +

Author: John Dougherty / Illustrator: Thomas Docherty

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12 responses to “The Hare-Shaped Hole by John Dougherty & Thomas Docherty”

  1. Steph@Crazylittlelovebirds avatar

    Aw, such a sweet story! And also great illustrations. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Catherine avatar

      It’s a really sweet story with a wonderfully uplifting ending 🙂

  2. Jayne avatar

    What a comforting storybook for children. I love the gentle and caring approach to discussing grief. Beautiful. x

    1. Catherine avatar

      It’s a really gentle and reassuring story with a beautifully heartwarming ending 🙂

  3. Donna Weidner avatar
    Donna Weidner

    Appears to be an extremely comforting story…just what we all need…comfort in trying times ❤️

    1. Catherine avatar

      It’s extremely comforting and one of my favourite illustrations shows Garda’s gorgeously comforting bear hug 🙂

  4. Kim Carberry avatar

    Aww! What a beautiful book. I wish children didn’t have to deal with grief but this sounds like a great help for little ones. x

    1. Catherine avatar

      It’s a beautiful book with a relatable main character which can really support a child through difficult times.

  5. Carol avatar

    What a sweet way to think of loss and grief. I love the idea of a hare shaped hole in your life. #MMBC

    1. Catherine avatar

      It’s a really sweet and child-friendly way to initiate conversations about grief 🙂

  6. Joanne avatar

    That sounds like such a sweet story.

    1. Catherine avatar

      It’s a very comforting story that takes you through a rollercoaster of emotions.