FICTION

When Sadness Is at Your Door

illus. by Eva Eland. 32p. Random. Jan. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780525707189.
COPY ISBN
K-Gr 3—This gentle book portrays sadness as a large pale green visitor that appears at the door, suitcase in hand. "It follows you around…and sits so close to you, you can hardly breathe." The narrator advises the host—a small child—not to hide his sadness or be afraid. "Listen to it. Ask where it comes from and what it needs. If you don't understand each other, just sit together and be quiet for a while." Then, try doing something comforting together like drawing, listening to music, or drinking cocoa. And, just as it came, unexpectedly, one day it will be gone. By focusing on the feeling, rather than the circumstance, the book speaks to readers of all ages and backgrounds. The portrayal of the feeling as so much larger than the boy helps convey the overwhelming nature of the emotion. The front endpapers show people of different ages in sad, thoughtful poses with the green creature interspersed—laying down, crying, staring at the ground, etc. The back endpapers show "sadness" doing yoga, petting a cat, taking a bath, eating an ice cream, getting a hug…finding comfort where it can. The handwritten text and illustrative sketches are rendered in brown on cream paper with pale red and green accents.
VERDICT This quiet book is both constructive and reassuring and recommended for any collection with a bibliotherapy section.

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