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I FOUND A DEAD BIRD by Jan Thornhill


The Kids’ Guide to the Cycle of Life and Death

by Jan Thornhill

Age Range: 9 - 11

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 2006
ISBN: 1-897066-70-8
Publisher: Maple Tree Press

In this naturalist’s view of death, Thornhill opens with discussions of life and lifespans, closes with an introduction to cloning and in between, surveys the natural and unnatural circumstances that lead to dying, the stages of decomposition, the work of scavengers and human grieving and funeral customs. She touches on many other topics too, from religious beliefs to species extinction, presenting it all with a mix of color photos, some in telling sequences, such as a row of human feet that goes from an infant’s to a skeleton’s, or six stages in a piglet’s decomposition. She intersperses these with captions or paragraphs of explanation. Intended to answer questions about death, this is too long to share with children in a single sitting, and also contains some inaccurate information (no, centipedes do not eat vegetable matter, nor are humans the only creatures that “react to death”), but it will leave younger readers, freshly bereaved or not, with a greater awareness of the cycle of life. (index) (Nonfiction. 9-11)