Sunday, April 3, 2011

Old Hu-Hu by Kyle Mewburn & illustrated by Rachel Driscoll

Helping children understand and cope with death is one of the most difficult things for parents.  Non-fiction books are often aimed at older children, or are too focused on the emotional aftermath of death - rather than helping children understand that death is natural, and that the confused feelings there are experiencing are normal.

Old Hu-Hu is one of the few picture books that handles death relatively well.  While these kinds of picture books always have a certain "preachy" element because of their subject matter, Old Hu-Hu has a warmth that is missing from a lot of other books.  When Old Hu-Hu dies his grandson Hu-Hu-Tu realises that his body is just an empty shell and begins the search for his grandfather - a search that ultimately ends with an idea that will be reassuring and easy to understand for pre-schoolers and older children.

The story is lovely, and the illustrations are a perfect match for the words.  Before reading the story to your little person, just take the time to read through it first to make sure that you are comfortable with the philosophy behind the words - as Old Hu-Hu does not go to heaven, but rather becomes something special for Hu-Hu-Tu.

If you like this book then try:
  • The sunshine cat by Miriam Moss & illustrated by Lisa Flather
  • When dinosaurs die: a guide to understanding death by Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown

Reviewed by Brilla

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