Perfect Picture Book Friday – Michael Rosen’s SAD BOOK

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Michael Rosen’s SAD BOOK

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.

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31 Responses to Perfect Picture Book Friday – Michael Rosen’s SAD BOOK

  1. Erik This Kid Reivews Books says:

    I like “Sometimes I don’t want to talk about it. ” I think a lot of kids think like this when they are sad or upset. This sounds like a very helpful book for a very hard subject.

  2. Oh My Joanna! Your review of this book is quite something…..” Rosen’s poetic power married with Blake’s beautiful brush strokes, that weep across the pages” …. loved that.
    “Who is sad? Sad is anyone. It comes along and finds you.” `.. .simple yet powerful. I think we have all been there…

  3. What a splendid review! Sad can find anyone. I wish I would have had this book. Children today have so many beautiful books to choose from. I will add this to my list that bursts from the notebook seams. I am buying these little by little. 🙂

  4. I have tears in my eyes just reading this post. I must read this book. Thank you. ‘Sad comes along and finds you.’ How true. How starkly true.

  5. What a very unusual story. I love this wonderful grief book. I think you are right, it is for both children and adults. Will have to check out this great find. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Heather says:

    Oh my goodness, I just read this book for the first time yesterday and it is the best book about grief for kids I have ever read. It’s honest, validating, but at the same time it’s not overly dour or frightening. This one is a wonderful addition to the Perfect Picture Book Friday list. Thank you.

  7. Amy Dixon says:

    Wow, definitely don’t have any books like this yet. Such a great resource, thanks for sharing!

  8. I’ve heard about this book, but I haven’t had a chance to find it yet. It sounds like a wonderful collaboration between two of my absolute favorites: Rosen and Blake. So brave of Rosen to write something that pierces the heart. Thank you for sharing this.

  9. Joanna says:

    I cam across it perchance as I was searching for poetry and it was, I think, wrongly shelved. These are two wonderful artists and their work blends beautifully together, Myra.

  10. Barb Leyne says:

    Wow! That sounds like a powerful book. I shy away from sad books (for obvious reasons) but this one looks amazing. Thanks.

    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers

    • Joanna says:

      Barb, I don’t go looking for them either, but boy, I am glad I cam upon this one by accident. it is a real treasure.

  11. Leslie Rose says:

    Books can be so helpful to kids going through life challenges and tragedies. As a teacher, I’m always searching them out. Thank you for leading me to this one. We just read MILO, STICKY NOTES AND BRAIN FREEZE, in my class which is about the loss of a parent. It prompted some very rich conversations.

  12. Joanna says:

    Leslie, I have read such good reviews about MILO, STICKY NOTES AND BRAIN FREEZE!

  13. Tracy Bermeo says:

    Joanna, this sounds like a very important book to read. Anything can make you sad and it’s so important to understand sadness. Excellent choice.
    A2ZMommy and What’s In Between

  14. Joanna, thank you for this gift. I have friends who have lost people close to them, and this book looks like a wonderful tool for working through grief.

  15. Joanna says:

    Kristen, I wouldn’t hesitate to give this as a gift to a child or adult who has lost someone very close!

  16. All I can say is WOW! It takes a terrific writer to deal with such a heavy emotion on behalf of kids. I’d never heard of this book, but I definitely want to get it. For myself even!

    • Joanna says:

      I don’t think one could write this amazing book, if one hadn’t walked through such deep sadness oneself, as Michael Rosen has, Julie.

  17. “Who is sad? Sad is anyone. It comes along and finds you.” `
    Wow! What emotion in just 3 sentences. This is a must read.

  18. Pingback: Perfect Picture Book Friday – We’re Going on a Bear Hunt | Miss Marple's Musings

  19. Joke says:

    lovely review Joanna, will look it up one day

  20. Laura Boffa says:

    Great review – this is such a beautiful book! I love that he has so much confidence in young readers to deal with a heavy topic in such an honest way without sugar-coating it or talking down. Not only that, he exposes himself and shows them that adults are still learning to deal with emotions too. So powerful!

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