cover image Death Is Stupid

Death Is Stupid

Anastasia Higginbotham. Feminist, $16.95 (64p) ISBN 978-1-55861-925-8

Following Divorce Is the Worst, this second installment in the Ordinary Terrible Things series acknowledges that despite the aphoristic things adults might say to soften the impact of death, it won’t necessarily help. In collages assembled on brown paper, Higginbotham introduces a boy whose grandmother has died. There are images that may be familiar to readers (flowers, a coffin, a hearse), along with well-intentioned but confusing condolences. “Now your gramma can watch over you wherever you are!” reads one, as the horrified boy imagines a spirit swirling overhead as he guzzles whipped cream straight from the can. It’s that exact mix of true-to-life humor and unflinching honesty that makes Higginbotham’s book work so well, and many of the plainspoken sentiments she includes (“Dying is not a punishment.... You might be freaked out by the grief of those you depend on”), as well as several included ideas for how to remember and honor those who have departed, may be eye-opening for readers facing grief themselves. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)