Written by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Quentin Blake.
Published by Candlewick Press, 2004
Ages: 5 – adult
Themes: Loss, grief, sadness
Opening/Synopsis: “This is me being sad. Maybe you think I am happy in this picture. Really I’m sad but pretending I am happy. I am doing this because I think people won’t like me if I look sad.”
This page is cleverly illustrated with a hallmark Quentin Blake Portrait of Rosen, where, I believe even young children will see beyond the smile! Some pages are all grey, others have subtle pastel coloring. This is an autobiographical, honest, heart-wrenching walk through the pain of losing a child. There are moments of dark despair. There are tender memories. There is emptiness. There is loneliness.
“Sometimes I don’t want to talk about it. Not to anyone. No One. No one at all. I just want to think about it on my own. because it is mine. And no one else’s.”
There is comfort, anger, family, effort, shame and very real pain, and maybe, a faint glimmer of light at the end.
Why I like this book: I would recommend this to any child, teen or adult who has lost anyone close. It is as raw and real as it comes, but full of dignity and value. It isn’t an easy read, but it has Rosen’s poetic power married with Blake’s beautiful brush strokes, that weep across the pages. This is a book for all!
“Who is sad? Sad is anyone. It comes along and finds you.” `
This is all of us!
Resources/Activities: Be prepared to talk, sit in silence, listen, answer questions and cry! and maybe reread it.
To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books. Or click on the Perfect Picture Book Fridays badge in the right sidebar.