Big Little Book of Happy Sadness

Big Little Book of Happy Sadness

by Colin Thompson
     
 

George lived alone with his grandmother and an empty place where his mother and father should have been. One Friday on his way home from school George visited the animal shelter. There in the very last cage was Jeremy a dog who looked as lost and as lonely as George. When Jeremy goes home to live with George and his grandmother their whole lives change and they learn…  See more details below

Overview

George lived alone with his grandmother and an empty place where his mother and father should have been. One Friday on his way home from school George visited the animal shelter. There in the very last cage was Jeremy a dog who looked as lost and as lonely as George. When Jeremy goes home to live with George and his grandmother their whole lives change and they learn that when it comes to love it s quality not quantity that counts...

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
George lives alone with his grandmother and "an empty space where his mother and father should have been." On Fridays, George visits the dog shelter where, in the gloom, dogs lonelier than him may be on their way "to heaven." One day, in the last cage, George meets a dog that seems to be a reflection of him: scruffy, sad, but dignified. George asks to have him, despite his having only three legs. He is told he must bring in his parents within an hour. Fortunately his grandmother finally agrees. Jeremy, the dog, is surprised to see them. Instead of being led to the "the big kennel in the sky," he is carried home with them. There it seems like heaven to him. When George and his grandmother finally make him substitute legs, his happiness is complete, and so is theirs. The remarkably sensitive visual story is told in dramatic double-page illustrations. Across the end pages is a trail of paw prints with a dot for the fourth paw. Grandmother appears in a space so bare you can feel the loneliness. George is rather dumpy, slouching; we do not even see his face until he discovers Jeremy. When they are all home, smiles appear all around. The characters are stylized, but the settings are filled with delicious naturalistic details. The "Happy" of the title is much larger than the "Sadness," and so are the emotions of the reader. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

Gr 1-4

George, a sad little orphan, lives with his sweet-faced grandmother but feels very much alone. When on his Friday afternoon visit to the dog shelter he finds a three-legged dog that seems as unwanted as he feels himself to be, he engages his grandmother's help to adopt the scruffy pup before it is euthanized. This act rescues the boy as well as his grandmother, and a family is born. Thompson never talks down to his readers and the story is simple, clear, and heartfelt enough to be universally understood. The illustrations are full of personality and extraordinary detail: the brick wall by the dog compound and the trees crowding into the narrow bit of sky above it look like exquisite photographs. Thompson indulges in his trademark visual puns, including the presence in the shelter of Kevin, the dog from Sometimes Love Is Under Your Foot (Scholastic, 2008). There is no doubt that he is a more accomplished artist than writer, and some readers may become impatient with the long denouement in which George and his grandmother experiment with making Jeremy a fourth leg out of paper, pastry, and wood. But by that point, the tone of the book has become hopeful, so it's easy to be indulgent. The Big Little Book of Happy Sadness is aptly named and well worth reading.-Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY

Kirkus Reviews
In this quirky Australian import, young George lives with his grandmother "and an empty place where his mother and father should have been." Every Friday he visits the animal shelter, and he's drawn to the dark cage at the end, where animals due for euthanasia are kept. There he finds a scruffy, three-legged dog living out his last day. George's sensitive grandmother recognizes the desperate needs of boy and dog and helps to adopt the winsome Jeremy. A sudden infusion of color into the previously drab computer-drawn illustrations graphically demonstrates the happiness all three share. George and his grandmother now get to work to create the perfect artificial leg for Jeremy, and with success (a leg with a wheel for park visits) comes bliss. Text, a sentence to a paragraph per spread, is relatively brief, but the combination of facial expressions and interesting perspectives perfectly captures the mood. Some children (and adults!) may find Jeremy's disability and unhappy future at the animal shelter disturbing, but the splendid conclusion makes this tale a joy. (Picture book. 5-8)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781933605906
Publisher:
Kane/Miller Book Publishers
Publication date:
09/28/2008
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
9.20(w) x 10.30(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
AD840L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

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