Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Old Hu-Hu

The death of someone I don't know who has died too young has spurred me on to continue my series on books about life and death. The first book I reviewed was Beginnings and Endings with Lifetimes in between.

Old Hu-Hu is written by Kyle Mewburn and illustrated by Rachel Driscoll. It was awarded the New Zealand Post Children's Book of the Year in 2010.
Synopsis (pretty much straight word for word from Scholastic New Zealand)
"Old Hu-Hu flew to the moon and back. Then fell to the ground. Dead."
Old Hu-Hu is a thoughtful tale of young Hu-Hu-Tu’s search for understanding about what happened to his beloved Old Hu-Hu. Everyone loved Old Hu-Hu but Hu-Hu-Tu misses him most of all. He remembers all of the exciting adventures that Old Hu-Hu had when he was younger and can’t accept that the empty shell lying upside down on the ground is really Old Hu-Hu. But then where has Old Hu-Hu gone? Hu-Hu-Tu endeavours to answer this question by searching for Old Hu-Hu and asking his friends if they have seen him. This makes Hu-Hu-Tu feel even more dejected and confused because all of his friends seem to have different ideas about where Old Hu-Hu is. The Ladybird believes that he is sitting on a cloud with all his old friends. Butterfly believes that soon Old Hu-Hu will wake up and be born again as an elephant, a snake or a hen. 
But when Old Hu-Hu doesn’t wake up Hu-Hu-Tu believes that he is gone for ever. He is inconsolable because he never got to say goodbye. As day breaks Hu-Hu-Tu hears Old Hu-Hu’s voice. At first he can’t figure out where the voice is coming from, but then he realises that it is coming from inside of him. 


Hu-Hu-Tu reaches an understanding about Old Hu-Hu’s death and realises that what would really make Old Hu-Hu happy is if he lives his life to the fullest – just like Old Hu-Hu did. Old Hu-Hu is a poignant celebration-of-life story that contains beautiful illustrations. 

And might I add the cover employs subtle use of UV spot lamination to create a really rich finish and texture.  

Scholastic said the book was best suited to readers 4+ years. My daughter was almost 4 and that is probably about right. I think Beginnings and Endings with Lifetimes in between is slightly better for younger children but I found reading these books good for me as an adult too. It is a starting point for conversation. Of which you could have quite a lot if you check out the teacher notes Scholastic have written here. An awesome resource. Here's a little tip- read the books first yourself so you can anticipate the bits you might find hard to read out loud. Always a different kettle of fish in my experience. I'm not the only one who thinks this, a review here said "read this book lying down, with the book held above your head. That way you won’t get the pages wet. (ha ha, you think I’m joking don’t you!)"

Have a good cry 
wash out your heart 
if you keep it inside
it'll tear you apart. 
(from this pin)

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