Big Little Book of Happy Sadnessby 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 that when it comes to love it s quality not quantity that counts...
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
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