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The Bug Cemetery Hardcover – April 2, 2002

5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Children's fascination with and fear of death gets a funny and ultimately empathic treatment from first-time author Hill. The matter-of-fact text, as narrated by a boy, shares the tone of Margaret Wise Brown's The Dead Bird: "When I found a dead ladybug one day, my sister, Wilma, buried it for me. She painted a rock to use as a tombstone." Mock funerals for insects then become the new neighborhood fad: "Wilma started charging a dime to bury someone's dead bug. Billy opened a lemonade stand for thirsty mourners.... Soon we had a bug cemetery in our backyard." But when a car kills Billy's cat, Buster, the children confront a sobering reality, and the precocious irony that has crept into the boy's narration vanishes, replaced by a heartfelt plainspokenness: "Funerals aren't any fun when they're for someone you love." The children transform the bug cemetery into a garden and final resting place for Buster, and find comfort in the ongoing cycle of life. Rosenberry (When Vera Was Sick) varies her gouache illustrations between single-page and double-spread formats to give the book a compelling visual pace. The children's elfin facial features and the masque-like compositions take on a slightly gothic appearance, appropriate to the play-acting and, eventually, the sorrow. The artist captures the psychological subtleties of a tricky subject, and every page feels real whether Wilma and her friends are feigning grief or genuinely experiencing it. Ages 4-7.

From School Library Journal

reschool-Grade 1--When a boy finds a dead ladybug, he and his sister Wilma bury it and hold a pretend funeral. Billy, the boy next door, joins in by bringing over a dead fly. Soon, neighborhood children want to take part in the ritual and bring various bugs for burial, creating a cemetery. Wilma charges 10 cents for funerals and Billy opens a lemonade stand, transforming what was imaginative play into a business. However, when Billy's cat is hit by a car and dies, the funeral is real and sad. The cat is buried among the bugs and the children plant a memorial butterfly garden around his grave. Hill approaches the subject of the death of a pet in a very gentle manner suitable for young children. At the same time she portrays the ingenuity, resourcefulness, and resilience of youngsters. Rosenberry's illustrations incorporate children of different ethnic backgrounds and are bright and summery, conveying hopefulness in spite of sadness. The story ends with Buster the Second chasing butterflies in the garden.
Be Astengo, Alachua County Library, Gainesville, FL
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Series: Books for Young Readers
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); 1st edition (April 2, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805063706
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805063707
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 0.5 x 9.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,254,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Ever wonder how small children really think and talk when no grownups are around?
The language found in The Bug Cemetery may give us an insight into the world of children as we read the book with them. It is direct, yet eloquent. The youngsters will take to it immediately, and their parents will find it thought-provoking on several levels.
What a fine start for this new author! Let's hope we see more from her, and soon.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Margolis on June 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Without a touch of sentimentality, Hill shows us the child's eye view of the grieving process and ends her story on a life-affirming note. Children and adults alike will appreciate this heart-warming book.
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Format: Hardcover
I am moved to tears every time I read this book. I have owned and appreciated it for years. Last year when our dog was dying, I pulled it out to introduce to our toddler children (aged 3 & 5) the topic of death. The story is so touching and is written in such simple but impactful sentences. Well done, Frances Hill.
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By fentonslee on May 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A heartwarming tale that will help kids understand the concept of death and loss in a gentle way. Very touching with lovely artwork.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "limhoff" on November 23, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This was an odd book about children who made a bug cemetery. When they found dead bugs, they would have funerals for them and pretend to cry. Then one little boy's cat died. They buried Buster the cat in the Bug Cemetery, but they cried real tears. Then they decided funerals were no fun and they planted a garden there instead.
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