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THE BUG CEMETERY by Frances Hill


by Frances Hill & illustrated by Vera Rosenberry

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: April 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-8050-6370-6
Publisher: Henry Holt

Bug funerals are one thing, but when a family pet has to be buried, the children in this tale learn to take pleasure in those still living as they experience their first loss of a loved one. When the narrator—a little ragamuffin, as are so many of Rosenberry’s children—finds a dead ladybug, he and his sister, Wilma, decide to give it proper funeral. Well, the headstone is real enough, if the gnashing teeth and wailing are more Hollywood. Actually, it’s kind of fun, and before you know it, a host of neighborhood kids have joined in, becoming professional mourners for the resident bug population. Then one of the boys loses his cat, Buster, to the wheels of a passing car. The children bury the cat along with all their bugs, though this funeral has real tears instead of the crocodile variety. The kids quickly learn the difference between playing at grief and the genuine article, and shortly thereafter, their cemetery is converted into a garden, wherein Buster II is soon cavorting and the children find solace in his antics. Newcomer Hill never tries to soft-pedal the burn of death, but she goes a long way toward giving young readers a sense of balance in celebrating life while the Grim Reaper goes about his work. (Picture book. 4-7)