The Adventures of Flapjack

Saying Goodbye

Children - Concept
32 Pages
Reviewed on 04/24/2016
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Why would readers be interested specifically in Dan and The Adventures of Flapjack? Good question. Not only have the first books in the series received glowing reviews for their ability to engage children in heartwarming tales, but they invite readers (and those to whom the story is being read) to assist Flapjack in reasoning through the same types of issues that children typically face. The first book, The Adventures of Flapjack – Finding Where I Belong, addresses issues of adaptation and lost friendships. The second book, The Adventures of Flapjack – The Collar of Courage, deals with issues of bullying, courage and self-esteem. (Please visit: In addition, educators have praised the books because they deal with real life issues in an engaging and non-threatening manner. Many have expressed the need for all libraries to carry the books. the third book in the series is now available. It's titled, The Adventures of Flapjack - Saying Goodbye. This story addresses loss and sets a more serious tone. The question is, "How will the fun-loving and upbeat Flapjack react to a life-altering trauma?" Those who are already familiar with Flapjack might have a good idea and we want to encourage others to look forward to finding out too.

Now… a little about Dan. Born in Santa Monica, California and a graduate of UCLA, Dan has been a member of the greater Folsom, California community for over 36 years. As such he was a State Park Ranger and patrol dog handler at Folsom Lake State Recreation Area, an environmental administrator for the California State Lands Commission, and a managing attorney in the California Department of Social Services. He also served several years as a pro-tem judge for the County of Sacramento. Dan’s love of children and his interest in the challenges they face inspired him to write the series although he adamantly insists he is channeling Flapjack. Dan has been interviewed by Beth Ruyak, host of Insight on Capital Public Radio, has appeared as a guest author at several bookstores, and enthusiastically engaged children at school book readings. Dan has also been featured in the Folsom/El Dorado Hills edition of Style Magazine. (Please see:

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

The Adventures of Flapjack: Saying Goodbye is a children's concept picture book written by Dan Cohen and illustrated by Lisa Norman. Flapjack is a dog who is quite happy living with his human mom and dad. He didn't always live there, however, because a ranger found him in the forest as a puppy. He had a special friend while he lived in the forest, a duck named Fowler. After he left the forest, Fowler would come to visit Flapjack in town where he lived with his family. Fowler used to visit with the changing of the seasons, but it had been five seasons since Flapjack saw his friend, and he wondered why. Finally, he saw a duck circling and then landing in his pond. Flapjack got very excited and was sure that the duck was his friend, but, no, it was Fowler's son who had sad news for the dog. Fowler was not at all well, and he would not be getting better. Flapjack wanted to see his friend before he died, and he kept on insisting until Fowler's son agreed, and together they traveled back to the forest.

Dan Cohen's children's concept picture book, The Adventures of Flapjack: Saying Goodbye, is a well-written and gentle tale about loss and grief. Flapjack's sadness and initial inability to process the news that his friend is dying echoes the universal sentiment of the bereaved, no matter how strong one's faith in an afterlife or what stage of life one is in. Saying Goodbye is probably the hardest and most mysterious aspect of life to comprehend, especially for a child, and I believe that Cohen's sensitive coverage of the subject may help children cope with the loss and grieving process that hits all of us so hard. This eloquent and moving story is accompanied by Lisa Norman's marvelous artwork that follows Flapjack on his final visit to Fowler. Reading The Adventures of Flapjack: Saying Goodbye is a sad, yet uplifting experience. It's most highly recommended.

Alysha Allen

Taking on the serious topic of the loss of a loved one, Dan Cohen and Lisa Norman's third installment to The Adventures of Flapjack, Saying Goodbye, becomes an uplifting exploration of the meaning of life. The story follows the Australian Shepherd dog, Flapjack, who had been rescued by a forest ranger and adopted by his new Mom and Dad. Flapjack enjoys being with his family, but can't help missing his old friend, Fowler the duck. For five seasons, Fowler has not visited Flapjack and he doesn't know why. Then, one day, Flapjack spots a duck in the sky, but it is not Fowler. The Australian Shepherd learns from Fowler's son that his dear friend is close to passing away. Crossing long distances, Flapjack journeys to say goodbye to his friend one last time. It is there he discovers that death is not an ending, but a beginning.

For young readers, these heavy ideas will be easily palatable and might even aid in coping with the loss of a loved one. Dan Cohen's bouncing rhymes and Lisa Norman's lively, heartwarming illustrations make The Adventures of Flapjack one adventurous lesson. At the heart of this tale is the idea that death, like life, is merely another adventure, and that in nature nothing actually dies, but, like the seasons, always returns. And, in that case, one would expect a new best friend for Flapjack to be in the works in the next installment of The Adventures of Flapjack. Meanwhile, kids can connect with and befriend Flapjack the dog on his website or social media accounts listed in the book.

Hilary Hawkes

The Adventures of Flapjack, Saying Goodbye by Dan Cohen is a picture book style story that helps children deal with loss and bereavement through the charming adventure of a lovable dog. Flapjack is an Australian Shepherd dog who loves his duck friend, Fowler. Not a season goes by without visits from Fowler. Then the time comes when he no longer flies in. Flapjack is very sad to learn that his friend has reached the end of his life and will die soon. But Fowler shares his words of wisdom and comfort with Flapjack about the natural cycle of life, the joy of living, and living on in memories and spirit.

This is a lovely, hopeful book to share with a child who has experienced loss or bereavement. I feel it needs to be read aloud with time to look at the illustrations and discuss the story’s meaning as it unfolds. It can be difficult for many children to talk about their feelings or fears, and books that gently help them to see they are not alone are invaluable. Flapjack is adorable and children will warm to him and empathize with his sadness at losing his friend. I like the rhyming nature to the text and the way Flapjack gradually comes to terms with his loss and begins to understand that endings and beginnings are all a part of life – and that when loved ones pass away they leave us with special happy memories and a sense of their presence. Using the example of clouds and raindrops nurturing life and growth before being recycled is a good way to explain how everything created has its natural time before passing on to another stage.

Lisa Norman’s illustrations complement Dan Cohen’s story perfectly. I liked the pictures of the four seasons – a connecting of Fowler’s year-round visits with the idea that life events can be seen as seasons that always move on and begin again. The depiction of Flapjack’s dream of happy times with Fowler and the clever The…Beginning (as opposed to The End) at the end of the book give it a comforting and hopeful conclusion. A beautifully presented and special book for families, and also for teachers, therapists and counsellors who are helping children deal with loss.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Flapjack feels very lucky to have adopted Mom and Dad. Lots of good things have happened to him, like interesting walks. Sometimes, though, Flapjack misses his friends in the forest, particularly a special duck called Fowler. Even after Flapjack adopted his Mom and Dad and went to live in town, Fowler came to visit. Lately, there’s been no sign of Fowler and Flapjack is confused. He doesn’t understand why. When a duck lands on the pond in Flapjack’s backyard, hope arises, but it’s not Fowler. It’s Fowler’s son come to tell Flapjack that Fowler is dying. Flapjack insists on following Fowler’s son back to the nest in the forest. When he finds Fowler, Flapjack sees how old and frail his long time friend is and he’s very sad. He doesn’t understand this 'dying.' Fowler explains that death is a part of life, but it’s important to enjoy life to its fullest and keep the memories of happy times and good friends close.

Death is a difficult concept for anyone to understand and accept, but most especially for children. Using his beautiful Australian Shepherd, Flapjack, as a guide, author Dan Cohen created a story around his beloved Aussie to help others, particularly children, accept and try to understand this difficult concept. Dogs have an incredible ability to adapt to any situation and to love unconditionally. Dan used his dog’s amazing compassion to create children’s stories like The Adventures of Flapjack: Saying Goodbye to help young readers learn and understand. The story is told in rhyme and beautifully illustrated by Lisa Norman, another dog lover. A very tender-hearted story. Well done!

Faridah Nassozi

The Adventures of Flapjack: Saying Goodbye by Dan Cohen continues with tales of the life of a brave Australian Shepherd and delivers yet more valuable life lessons for its readers. Saying Goodbye is the story of Flapjack and his best friend - a duck called Fowler. Fowler used to visit Flapjack every season, but he had not visited for the last five seasons. Flapjack was very worried for his friend, but was staying hopeful. As it turned out, he was right to be worried because when a young version of Fowler later showed up, he delivered some saddening news. Flapjack knew he had to go see his friend right away. However, Fowler lived very far away and Flapjack could not fly. So how would he get there? Follow yet another one of the incredible adventures of Flapjack and witness his amazing courage in the face of great adversity.

Saying Goodbye is yet another worthy read in The Adventures of Flapjack series by Dan Cohen, and a worthwhile addition to any kids' library. In this part of the story, young readers will learn about everlasting friendship, courage, and how to achieve the impossible through hard work and a can-do attitude. The book also delivers an invaluable lesson for kids, and even adults too, about coping with life's biggest losses. Dan Cohen knows how to write an amazing story and perfectly capture his characters' emotions, as right away portrayed by the rather sombre tone of Saying Goodbye. Lisa Norman's vivid illustrations bring it all to life rather brilliantly.