2nd February '19
This charming picture book deals with sadness and regulating that emotion, promoting self-awareness and empathy. This tale centres on “sadness” paying a child a visit. Sadness is personified as a house guest and is used to describe how this emotion can feel and impact upon you and consequently how to cope with it.
The language is very simple but illustrative. The story is gentle and easy for young children to follow, especially with the help of the lovely illustrations. They are monochrome and coloured with pastel turquoise and dusky pink for the most part. It sets the tone for a calm book with undistuptive pictures. They help support the language of the story without detracting from the tale itself.
My son really enjoys this one; he responded really positively to sadness as something visual and tangible. It makes the abstract concept of feelings and their regulation something easier to understand and relate to. He liked the idea of playing host to sadness! He particularly liked the illustrations on the inside of the front and back covers which depict a whole host of adults and children struggling when they aren’t embracing sadness and a set shown as happy once they have and doing lots of interesting things with sadness. He was fascinated by the difference. I thought it was a lovely additional way of illustrating the point of the story at beginning and end.
It was a fairly quick read but with lots of scope for additional discussion and plenty to talk round so we end up spending at least 20 minutes, half an hour with it, using it as both a story book and a tool for teaching feelings and emotional regulation. With the worrying statistics on mental health in mind, I think books such as this are an invaluable and very pleasant way of making it clear that feelings aren’t something to be scared or ashamed of but to embrace them and learn to understand them instead.
I quite liked the fact the child was pretty unisex so both my son and daughter found the main character relatable.
All in all, a fantastic book that we’ll return to again and again.