Posted by: Kathy Temean | November 26, 2019

Book Giveaway – THE END OF SOMETHING WONDERFUL by Stephanie V. W. Lucianovic

Stephaine V.W. Lucianovic has written a picture book titled, THE END OF SOMETHING WONDERFUL, published by Sterling. They have agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Stephanie!

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!


With gentle humor and quirkiness, this sympathetic book demonstrates how to say goodbye to a beloved pet and give it a proper sendoff.

“[The End of Something Wonderful is] really good. It’s funny and sardonic and it gets to be touching at the end.” —Betsy Bird, School Library Journal

Children love their pets very much—and when the animals die, that loss can be hard to process. The End of Something Wonderful helps kids handle their feelings when they’re hurting and can’t find all the right words. In a warm, understanding, sometimes funny way, it guides children as they plan a backyard funeral to say goodbye, from choosing a box and a burial spot to giving a eulogy and wiping away tears. Most of all, it reassures them that it’s not the end of everything . . . and that Something Wonderful can always happen again.


The journey of this book started in the slush pile at Sterling. Or maybe that’s where it ended? Or did it end when it was placed on a book shelf? Or when it made it to a child’s hands?

I guess the end of a book’s journey depends on what we define as the start of the journey. Is the start when a manuscript is accepted by a publisher to then be definitively published in book form for others (outside of the author’s family) to read? Or does the start of a book happen earlier? Does the start of the book begin with my birth in 1973?

(…it’s possible I’ve been watching too many episodes of The Good Place which have put me in an overly philosophical and questioning state of mind.)

I can say that the initial seedlings of THE END OF SOMETHING WONDERFUL were planted at my childhood home in Minneapolis where I grew up surrounded by several generations of cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, and a few plucky fish. Back then, when one of our beloved Something Wonderfuls died, my older sister and I sought solace by putting on church clothes, hauling out our bibles, picking flowers, and attempting headstones.

But that all happened several decades ago.

Speed up time and I could take you on a comb through of every one of my formative years: when I started writing as a kid, when I got a job in publishing, when I first got paid to write about cheese, TV, vampires, and manga, and when I decided to write picture books … but I won’t.

It is true that every one of those tiny steps could definitely be considered part of the journey of THE END OF SOMETHING WONDERFUL, but as writers we learn to edit ourselves.

We learn to pare down and keep only the juiciest and most relevant chunks.

In 2016, sitting crosslegged on our living room couch, I wrote the first draft of THE END OF SOMETHING WONDERFUL all in one exhale. I had parted ways with my first children’s book agent and while dealing with that grief, I had also been trying to capture the loss my family had recently gone through with one of our cats. I wanted to honor what Hunca Munca had given our family and I specifically wanted to illuminate what he had taught my oldest son about kindness and being gentle and patient.

But pet death books are a difficult sell. And I was told this so many different ways from so many different agents and editors. Rejection after rejection filled my inbox. But then I put myself back in my own childhood and I remembered what my sister and I did to mourn Nutsy and Feisty and Pyewacket and Ivan and Bert and Gus and Spinky and Pooter and so many others.

We had funerals. We had backyard funerals.

That’s when it hit me: there are lots of picture books about death. And there are lot of picture books about the death of a pet. But where was the book that begins with the pet being dead and explores how to process what comes next? Where was the how-to for a child-centric backyard funeral that could help a child’s heart heal just a little bit? Where was the book that could mix a little bit of laughter in with the tears because laughter can also be a healing approach?

If I wrote such a book, I knew I was going to honor the child reading it by being honest about the subject and practical in its application.  So I wrote the first line, “First you need something dead.” And from the time I wrote that to the time my Sterling editor pulled it from the slush pile to the time it hit the bookshelves in September of this year, that line never changed.

That first line could also be considered one of the many first steps of this book journey, but to some degree, it could also be considered the end, don’t you think? One might even say it could be considered the end of something wonderful.



Stephanie has done a few things in life. She has sold women shoes and frozen yogurt as well as smelly, expensive body lotion and smellier, even more expensive cheese. She has worked on a Jacques Pepin cooking show and been a cookbook editor.

She has written about books, food, parenting, TV, vampire dating habits, cocktail trivia, and picky eating. She has attended a swank ball at University of Cambridge with Prince Charles (not that he was her date or anything just that he was also invited) and rebuilt trails with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.

She has lived in Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, Ann Arbor, England, Boston, and San Francisco.

Now she writes children’s books surrounded by a few kids, a few cats, and one husband. She loves reading books and watching television shows in equal number, hates running but does it anyway, and she believes everyone over twenty-one should try pairing Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups with bourbon.

Stephanie, thank you for sharing your book and its’ journey with us. The death of a pet is hard for anyone, especially children. Nice to see a book that helps children process their loss and help them move past the pain. Good luck with the book.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. I love this book! I can’t wait to read it. Sounds perfectly in sync with a child’s thought processes. Great job! Congratulations! I will retweet this post and I follow you by email, Kathy. 🙂


  2. I wish this book was around when I was a kid–the initial sentence is terrific and the touch of humor, healing! Retweeting this post, too.


  3. The loss of a pet is hard for everyone, especially for kids. This thoughtful book should help a lot.Thanks for the chance to win a copy of The End of Something Wonderful.
    I’ve tweeted a link to this post:, and pinned an image on Pinterest with a link as well:
    I also follow your blog daily by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com
    Thanks again, have a great week!!


  4. I read this a few weeks ago, and it’s wonderful!


  5. What a marvellous way of dealing with a tough subject. I’m looking forward to giving it as gifts this holiday ❤


  6. Stephanie’s book will help adults as well as children – it is hard for all of us to lose pets! Two summers ago I buried a lizard in my backyard that was 16 years old (my 30-year-old son had bought him in middle school…), and I would have loved to have had this book to read.The voice is perfect! Best of luck, Stephanie, from a fellow Sterling author.


  7. This sounds like a terrific book. Thanks for telling me about it. I will pass on the giveaway.


  8. This book looks amazing! What a wonderful way to get around the whole not-easy-to-sell a picture book about the death of a pet. Great job Stephanie! I am tweeting this book now. 🙂


  9. My family is going to love this book! Like you, we have loved and love many pets and always hold funerals. Our go to song is “Silent Night.” Thanks for writing The End of Something Wonderful.


  10. I’m looking forward to reading this book. I’m glad it’s available for the children to read. Congratulations! I shared on Twitter and receive your blog emails.


  11. I’ve heard wonderful things about this book! My TBR list is too long. Moving it up and sharing on twitter. 🙂


  12. Wonderful! Looking forward to reading it!


  13. I’ve wanted to see this book ever since I first heard about it! Tweeting 😀


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