Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Michael Rosen’s Sad Book

Rosen, Michael (Author)
Blake, Quentin (Illustrator)
Candlewick Press 2005. 32 pages
First published: 2004
ISBN: 9780763625979 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, evocative language, multimodal, point of view

Awards

Boston Globe-Horn Honor Book – 2005
USBBY Outstanding International Books List – 2006

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Sadness is indiscriminate: “Who is sad?” the author and first-person narrator asks. “Sad is anyone. It comes along and finds you.” In this case, sadness has come in the form of the death of the author’s son. This narrative journey through sadness touches on anger, the search for solace, withdrawal, coping and wistful remembrance. The short, declarative sentences are poignantly honest: “What makes me most sad is when I think about my son Eddie. He died. I loved him very, very much but he died anyway.” Mourning, the bereaved father knows, can make us loopy. “Sometimes,” he admits, he does crazy things—like shouting in the shower.” And sometimes sadness is about nothing at all, because things change, and we wish they wouldn’t.

The accompanying ink-and-watercolour drawings move from grey to colour and back again, and make absence palpable: “Eddie doesn’t say anything because he’s not here anymore,” one page reads, below three frames depicting Eddie throwing a ball, in class, and happy with his friends; a fourth frame is left blank. The short texts—no more than a few lines per page—and the spot and framed illustrations are frequently bittersweet.

The last, wordless page shows the father alone, a candle flickering in a candleholder. “Everyone has sad stuff. I’m not the only one,” he knows. “Maybe you have some too.”

  •  

    Look at the front cover and browse a few pages inside. Discuss the title. Make predictions about the story.

  •  

    As you read, notice and discuss how the illustrator uses colour to convey emotions and indicate memories.

  •  

    What different emotions does the author experience in his grief? Write and draw about how he expresses his sadness.

  •  

    How would you like your friends to support you when you are sad? What can you do to be a good friend to someone who is sad? Record your ideas in a journal or on a class list for future reference.

  •  

    As you look at the book cover, discuss why an author might write a sad book. Brainstorm and list words related to sadness. Add to the list as you come up with new words.

  •  

    Go for a picture walk and discuss the artist’s style. How are emotions portrayed in the book?

  •  

    As the story is read aloud, compare your predictions with the author’s version.

  •  

    Draw moments when you might feel happy and when you might feel sad. Add to your illustrations with a short text in the author’s style.

  •  

    In your writing journal, create a word web for sad. In small teams, share and revise your web. Discuss as a class.

  •  

    Stop reading after the fifth page. What do you know about Eddie and his father? Compare and contrast the illustrations in those first few pages. What evokes happiness and what evokes sadness? Do a think-pair-share.

  •  

    Look at the last double-page spread and write the letter that Eddie’s father is writing. Decide who it is addressed to: Eddie? Himself? Center the letter around hope and healing.

  • To communicate appropriately
  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • To solve problems
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Drama
  • Personal Development