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Waterbugs and Dragonflies: Explaining Death to Young Children
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Waterbugs and Dragonflies: Explaining Death to Young Children

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  308 ratings  ·  20 reviews
How can we answer the many questions young children have about death? Looking for a meaningful way to explain to neighbourhood children the death of a five year old friend, Doris Stickney adapted the graceful fable about the waterbug that changed into a dragonfly. First published under the title "Death" in 'Colloquy' (December 1971), the story was revised and expanded in 1 ...more
Hardcover, 26 pages
Published September 26th 2002 by Bloomsbury Academic (first published August 1st 1982)
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Average rating 4.44  · 
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Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
...and a timely, gentle reminder for adults.
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I highly recommend this book. See my full review here-
Claire Lyons
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful - will be reading this at our sons funeral
Jul 02, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gift for the girls, used by ministry in dealing with grief in young children. Too you g for my girls.
Sep 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thoughtful book about transformation and change (aka death). Gives a fresh and kind perspective to children and adults and an alternate thought process. Very short, very sweet, nicely written.
Clare Cannon
Sep 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 04-8yrs, non-fiction
Such a beautiful book, the best we have come across for explaining death to young children. The main story is not exactly spiritual but is an allegory of life that is compatible with Christianity, the notes and scripture references that follow the story explain its symbolism.

The waterbugs notice that every so often, one of their number decides to walk up the stem of a water lily above the surface of the water, and they never return. They make a group decision that the next one to go up the stem
Jan 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
With a much loved family member slowly slipping away from us, I needed help explaining death to my kids, ages 10, 7, and 4. A friend who has suffered losses recommended this book and Tear Soup.

Simplistic in it's ideas, this children's book illustrates the change that happens with death, keeping in line with our beliefs that death is not an ending at all and that we will be reunited. But there is a separation. And sometimes those left behind just don't understand.

I think this book will be of mos
Apr 11, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: j-ya
Talking about death is never easy; talking about death with children is awful. I liked this book for its simplicity and yet a possible explanation of what happens next without getting into heaven/religious grown-up speak. I was pleasantly surprised at the feeling I had for the dragonfly when he realized that he could not return as promised to tell everyone what happened. Could this be confusing for kids? Perhaps, because the dragonfly didn't die nor really did the water bug; it changed and becam ...more
Sep 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
While not told on a spiritual level, this story can be adapted to explain to children, whether with a religious context or not, the concept of death and moving on.

What I like about this story is the simplicity of the concept. It is not complex and allows children to visualize the similarities between humans and the characters in this short story. There is a section at the back to guide parents/caregivers through explaining death in a more spiritual manner, if desired. Overall, it is a wonderful
I was disappointed by this book. I think partly because I had to wait a long time to get a copy of it and had high expectations. The book itself looks very self-published. And the text was in a cheesy Comic Sans font. To me it was not a "gentle" explanation of death for children. I felt it was too vague, especially for very young children. Also it really presents a christian perspective on an afterlife and doesn't necessarily deal with the death itself. ...more
Jan 04, 2012 rated it did not like it
A fable that explains death to children using water bugs who transform to dragonflies. The idea is that dragonflies can never return underwater to visit the water bugs, just as one who has died cannot return to life. I didn't like it at all, I don't think it works as a fable and think it will confuse kids. I'm surprised it was on many recommended reading lists for books that help children deal with death. ...more
Dec 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I have ever come across on how to explain death to small children. It's a story book to read to them and it has a nice little questions answers section in the back to further help explain how the child might be feeling with the lose of a loved one.

I got this book for Rory when her grandpa died last year and I think it helped me just as much as it helped her. This is one book I will hand out over and over.
Amy Cottrell
Dec 08, 2012 rated it liked it
This book is a very simple parable explaining death to children. Interesting and clever but not particularly relatable for my children. I don't think they understood very well. This might work better if my children were a little older. ...more
Jul 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Purchased for my nieces, but read it before I mailed it to them. A simple & sweet story that provides comfort and understanding after the passing of a loved one. I highly recommend this book to anyone, any age.
Apr 10, 2010 marked it as recommended-for-meredith
Recommended by a colleague. This uses insect metamorphosis as a parable for death.
Dec 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
This book brings tears to my eyes when ever I read it. It puts things in perspective. I have such a new respect for dragonflies.
Jennifer Lindsay
My sponsor recommended this book to me. It's about explaining death to young children but adults will appreciate and love it too. ...more
Tyana Gonzales
Dec 03, 2015 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the simplicity of this book. It explains death in such a beautiful way that is easier for children to understand.
Lisa Ransom
rated it it was amazing
May 08, 2016
Patricia Hawes
rated it it was amazing
Jan 10, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Jul 02, 2017
rated it it was ok
Dec 29, 2017
rated it it was amazing
Jan 03, 2015
Jane Dolby
rated it it was amazing
Jul 22, 2015
Clare Abrahams
rated it liked it
Mar 10, 2017
rated it really liked it
Feb 23, 2012
Caroline Matthews
rated it really liked it
Aug 09, 2017
rated it really liked it
Oct 29, 2021
Ending Well
rated it it was ok
Mar 08, 2021
Marian Basu
rated it really liked it
Dec 26, 2016
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