Reviewed by Nadene O’Loan
George and Theo were very aware that something was not right in the family despite everyone trying to make things as normal as possible.
The author has chosen a very difficult subject matter to write about and has written well about this subject. I loved that it showed the experience of grief from a child’s view which is often very different from an adult’s view. Us Minus Mum is the story of two brothers along with their dog finding laughter after the loss of their mother.
Aimed at children over the age of eight it is very well written. The character of the two boys comes across well. It reminded me of my two boys aged 7 and 5; like George and Theo, my older boy is the “sensible” and studious one while the younger one is a mischievous character. I loved the special times that George shared with his mum that made him feel special.
I found this book very sad in parts. I was reading it in tears. In my opinion it is not suitable for a young child (8-10) for casual reading purposes and I’m not even sure that I would let me 12 year old daughter read it. The language used is suitable but the subject matter is, in my opinion, too emotive. I think it is suitable for some early teens who have a better understanding of death and loss. I believe that younger children (8-12 year olds) could become very worried about people whom they love if they read it alone.
However, I do think that it has a very useful part to play in helping a child to express their grief if they have recently lost someone close to them. In these circumstances it would be important that the child is supported to read it and that it is perhaps read to them by a trusted adult. Children often hold untrue beliefs about death and it would be a useful starting point to helping them express their beliefs and their worries.
RRP: £5.99 (paperback) ISBN: 9780349124070 Publication Date: 6 February 2014
Available to buy from Little Brown Book Group here.