“Old Hu Hu”
written by: Kyle Mewburn award winning writer of “Kiss! Kiss! Yuck! Yuck!
illustrated by: Rachel Driscoll Rachel and her partner Michael Greenfield worked together on this book, to make the evocative and beautiful illustrations so special.
published by: Scholastic, 2009 A Storylines Notable Book in 2010.
Age: 4 – 8 years (I think.)
Theme: death, loss, educational, science
Synopsis: Old Hu Hu flew all the way to the moon (so they said) then fell down dead.
A moving tale of discovering what happens when someone dies. While Hu Hu Tu is heartbroken that Old Hu Hu has died, he is encouraged to look around him to see his old friend is everywhere, in all things that make up the world around us such as the clouds, soil, and air, flowers or hair. It is only when he awakes one morning to discover his beloved Old Hu Hu lives on within that he begins to understand.
Why I liked it: The simple beautifully message so delicately written accompanies the whimsical illustrations. As one reviewer wrote… “if you look closely at the illustrations you can see Old Hu Hu in the background, reminding us that those we love never really leave us.”
Resources/ Findings: http://www.scholastic.co.nz/Club/Pdfs/Old%20Hu-hu.pdf is an Activity page from Scolastics…in PDF form as a teachers aid in encouraging discussions and activities.
http://www.picturebooks.co.nz/old-hu-hu-activities/ also has teacher aid activities relating to science and also regarding losing a loved one.
http://www.bookcouncil.org.nz/writers/mewburnkyle.htmlKyle Mewburn’s very organised website, is an amazing source of information from Educational resource for teachers to files of information on many of New Zealand writers plus reviews on his books and question and answers for kids of all ages regarding his books and writing in general.
For more books with resources please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Picture Perfect Book.
Awh, that sounds lovely. What beautiful illos.
Isn’t it cute Catherine…. you wouldn’t think that they are really Huhu Bugs…(ugly horrible things…LOL) But I love the pictures and message.
This book sounds like a lovely one, Diane. I think it’s so important to have choices for picture books that deal with loss – it’s a very hard topic to deal with well and different books will surely fit different children in different ways. Somehow the fact that it’s about bugs might make it a little more palatable to children. Thanks so much for sharing this one!
So glad you like this one Susanna. It is a difficult subject especially for kids to handle. But it is so touching when little Hu Hu Tu looks over at Old Hu Hu’s lifeless shell, he can’t believe his old friend has left him. It grabs your heart and the pictures are so adorable the kids will welcome this one, I think.
Diane, love that you selected another book from New Zealand. Am not familiar with Huhu bugs. Don’t know if we have them in the US, or if they are native to NZ. I am always on the look out for good books dealing with losss. Liked your activitiy. Great choice!
LOL…. The Huhu Beetle is a Native of New Zealand and in its early stages referred to as HuHu Bug. (can also be eaten). Thought of you when I saw this book, so pleased you liked it. Thanks Pat.
What a great idea for a book. My kids could have used this one last summer when our cat died. I am getting this one next time out! Thanks for sharing Diane.
Thankyou Jennifer, so pleased you like this book. I think kids of all ages will like this, Kyle (yes, a guy) handles the subject very gently.
This sounds absolutely lovely! Thanks for sharing. I will def. get a copy in my hands. I am also working on a short PB that deals with the topic of loss/death and was just thinking I’d like to read a few more that are already out there. Happy New Year!
Thankyou so much Miranda. I think you will like Kyle’s website to. Kyle’s way with words and handling this topic was quite something, I thought. Happy reading and Happy New Year to you.
It is so good to know that there are helpful books like this for children dealing with death, whether death of a beloved pet, or death of a friend or family member. The fact that you’ve introduced us to another NZ book is a bonus (although I’d just as soon not meet up with a real huhu bug.)
Thankyou Beth! Glad you liked the book, and no I would not like to meet up with a huhu bug either.
I kind of got choked up just reading the review! I don’t think I could read this right now, but I adore those bugs on the cover and am definitely putting this one in the Amazon cart. Thanks for picking such an unusual title!
I am pleased that this touched you so! It is a beautiful book. I came across it in a book store while wandering around.
A picture book dealing with loss and grief is a special item. They are hard to write about delicately and important, too. Many young children have already suffered some kind of loss and this sounds like the gentle way to talk to them about it. And if they are new to the idea a good way to introduce it.
Long ago when my late husband died and I had to explain it to my ten and fourteen year old I got out Elizabeth Kubler Ross’s children’s book. I couldn’t read three pages before starting weeping myself so it’s always a good idea to bring the subject around before the actual thing occurs.
Thanks for this selection. 🙂
I am so sorry to hear of your loss Clar, and I am sure your children would have appreciated and felt a kindred spirit in little Hu Hu Tu. Thankyou so much for sharing your experience Clar and for commenting here.
What a thoughtful book! I think our counselor might really like this book. I love the cover-I’m sure the illustrations inside are just beautiful.
Thankyou Kelly, I think you would find it very valuable with your students. Oh yes, the illustrations inside are just as beautiful.
I do so agree with Clar that it is important to read and speak of such sensitive issues as loss, early in childhood, hopefully before most children have to face it for the firs time. This book looks like a great choice to to so with sensitivity and also a bit of distance, as most children will have never heard of the Huhu bug.
Thankyou so much Joanna, yes I think it would come across very well. Even if the children do not know what a Huhu bug is, it would add a bit of curiosity and interest in sticking with the story. A kind of side plate (if you will), yet not detract totally from the message the book portrays. It is beautifully written.
The links are really cool! I didn’t know that a hu hu bug existed (and that they are native to New Zealand – Have you ever seen one before?)! I like the story’s idea, too. That’s a hard subject to write about. 😦
Thankyou Erik, so glad you found the links interesting. If you google huhu bug you will see they are not very nice. (I tell you something…..*whispers*..”I had one land on me once, that was enough, I screamed…lol”)
This sounds like a wonderful book. And I love the cover illustration! Thanks for the review, sounds like a great addition to the list.
Your very welcome Loni. The illustrations all the way through are just lovely. Glad you like it.
Sounds really wonderful. I haven’t been able to find this book from my library. Think I’ll search for it again, and then elsewhere. Thank you for sharing this book!
Hope you can find it online. Your very welcome, glad you liked it, Claudine.
While I don’t look forward to the “loss” discussions, I’m glad to find another title on the topic. The cover art makes me want to see the entire book.
It’s a delicate topic and Kyle Mewbury handles it very well in this book. The cover like the rest of the pictures inside are so beautiful and soothing. I’m pleased that you want to see the book. I hope it is available for you. Thanks Stacy!
Thank you, Diane.
There are many children who wonder about death…and quite a few who have had to deal with it in their young lives. A book like this one could have great value, not only because it is beautiful to look at, but also because the message could help kids who are dealing with a loss of a loved one. What a great opportunity for a child to be able to voice his fears or concerns as a parent reads this story!
Thankyou so much Vivian for taking the time to read this post. I was at first captivated by the soft beautiful illustrations and unusual title, when I read through it, I discovered that Kyle and Rachel have a great understanding of how to handle such a delicate topic.