From School Library Journal
Grade 6 Up. Death, the last stage of the human condition, has been underreported and mostly avoided in writing for young people. Colman takes on the task with just the right mix of unblinking realism and sensitivity to varieties of beliefs and practices. The eight chapters explain decomposition, cremation, and burials; describe rituals and ceremonies from many times and places; and show the impact of death and loss on those still living through epitaphs and artworks?some humorous, some poignant. Extensive research is evident throughout the book, from the wide and knowledgeable coverage of cultures and past times to the impressive bibliography. Black-and-white prints, art reproductions, and photographs fill the pages. The author avoids being morbid by using a conversational tone, often referring to her own experiences and relating anecdotes told to her by others. She also balances grim facts about embalming and mourning with accounts of curious and witty gravestones and eccentric burial requests, turning the otherwise dark material into entertaining reading. Lists of significant dates in funereal history (e.g., the beginnings of mound building, the first use of catacombs) and a guide to burial sites of famous people complete the coverage. This is a book that answers many questions and introduces fascinating facts. It should find many readers.?Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
“Understanding death doesn't necessarily take away our anxieties or fears about our own death, or our sadness about other people's deaths, but it does help us find ways to continue on with our lives.” ―Penny Colman
“A daring and satisfying approach to a difficult subject.” ―Publisher's Weekly, starred review
“Death, the last stage of the human condition, has been underreported and mostly avoided in writing for young people. Colman takes on the task with just the right mix of unblinking realism and sensitivity to varieties of beliefs and practices.” ―School Library Journal, starred review
“The author has a compassionate eye, and she manages to endow her topic with both humanity and humor.” ―The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
“This solid, sensitive book answers a wealth of questions young people have but often are too reluctant to ask.” ―Booklist, starred review