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4.9 out of 5 stars129
4.9 out of 5 stars
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on 24 June 2006
It took me a couple of reads to realise just how much Blake's illustrations added to the spare, bold text. It was as if Rosen, in his grief, had left some things unsaid and Blake had picked up on this and helped out. I've always liked his illustrations but this book brings out a different side of him - more expressionist - his figures and landscapes (some beautifully economical use of watercolour)seem to bypass the brain and go straight to the solar plexus.

Some people are worried that the bald realism of this book is too much for younger children. But what about those who've already lost someone close to them? Surely they need help in visualising their experience. Ever since my daughter died I've been trying to find ways of telling my autistic son about her. I said all the usual stuff, but he became inconsolable and cried as if heartbroken. I've left it alone for months and then suddenly found this book. I knew it would be perfect for him, as he has SUCH a visual intelligence. It was. He asked me to read it again and again and pointed out aspects of the pictures that I had failed to notice.

My other daughter is a little wary of it, but I feel it will reach her in time.

If you want to help someone deal with loss, please don't be afraid of this book.
22 comments184 of 184 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 11 April 2005
Michael Rosens Sad Book is an astonishing achievement.
Poignant, saddening and thought provoking, though do not be fooled, this is not just a childs picture books.
Even the most toughened of adults would find it nigh-on impossible to muster anyhing other than a tear.
Michael Rosen lost his son, Eddie, to meningitis when he was just 19. After the collapse of his marriage, Michael Rosen perhaps lost for a while his familiar cheery side of his other incredible poetry books.
Having met the man myself, I can confirm that despite his setbacks this man is a super guy and has more warmth and softness than anyone else I have ever met.
Sad Book is simply put unlike anything you will ever read. Do not be put off by it being about saddness and depression. As he puts it himself, he is not bad, but sad.
You will not regret this amazingly honest and open book.
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on 29 March 2008
Rosen has produced a gem and as people have said the pictures are perfect for it.
An unusual book, a must buy if you want kids to be able to take feelings seriously.
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on 16 November 2004
There's not much you can really say to describe this book. It's unlike anything else I've ever read, in the best possible way. All I can think is how brave Michael Rosen must be to put what are obviously the most intimate feelings into a book like this. Buy it.
0Comment51 of 54 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
This is a sad book, a very sad book. It is aptly titled. Yes, it's unlike the majority of books intended for young readers. There aren't any rhymes or happy endings. It's a story, more of a journal really about the way Michael Rosen is trying to cope with the death of his son, Eddie.
Why give a sad book to children? Because there are times when we are sad, life is sad. However, this book is also about love and how very much Rosen loved his son. It's also a book about possibilities. All the things you can do when your life seems bleak. Maybe we can't be too young to learn these lessons.
Rosen talks about trying to look happy because he thinks people won't like him if he looks sad, and he mentions trying to do one thing he can be proud of every day. Then, when he goes to bed he tries to think about that rather than the fact that Eddie is no longer with him. He doesn't sidestep the anger he feels at Eddie's death or the memories that flood his mind.
Quentin Blake has won numerous awards for his illustrations, deservedly so. He illustrates this book not just with watercolor and ink but also with empathetic awareness.
This is a very honest book that cannot fail to touch hearts, and it may perhaps teach young ones to be kind and relish every day.
- Gail Cooke
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on 7 February 2012
This is a stunning book and a great achievement for the author and illustrator. It is so neat and well conceived - I love everything about it.
Some of the phrases in this book are as beautiful as anything you'll find in a classic novel and combined with the pictures it is truly heart-wrenching stuff. I think some people may be worried about this book being too sad for children... well, I have only ever read it myself (I am interested in children's books and hope to write one) so I can't comment on how children would take it. However, it strikes me that something can be both sad and beautiful at the same time, and that is one of the things that makes this book so unique among children's literature. Personally, I would recommend this book for adults, children that have lost someone or are coping with depression and more mature children who are looking for something unusual, interesting and beautiful to read.
Thoroughly recommended and good value for something of such quality.
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on 29 July 2008
A lovely book, recommended by a friend.
Those who have lost someone close, whoever it is should read this book. It tells it like it is. Have brought an extra copy for another friend.
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on 22 December 2006
I was having a clear out before the Big guy in Red comes along,and i came cross this book. At first i put it in the pile to take to the charity shop, but then i read it. How could i possibly give this away? It is SUCH AN IMPORTANT BOOK. Im going to give it to my daughter to read when she comes home, cos she gets quite sad sometimes (dont we all)? This book doesn't just help with bereavement it helps children to understand their emotions.

I love you Michael Rosen. God Bless.
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on 13 August 2005
Summary: Covers a lot of important areas in bereavement in an accessible and sensitive way.
Reviewer: West London, works in helping profession, sometimes with bereaved people.
I was impressed with this book becauses it says or conveys so much in a digestible, insightful and empathic way. It's the best 'introduction to bereavement' I've come across and manages to get the emotional tone just right - some hope, some humour, some tips, but an acknowledgement that the sadness can be overwhelming at times (and doesn't go away in a hurry). Particularly useful for people who have lost children, or adult children as the author lost his son at 18, but relevant to most bereavements. Illustrations are great too and contribute a great deal to the impact and perceptiveness. Consider this a 'group review' because some people I know who are struggling with bereavement thought a lot of the book too - and felt understood.
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on 10 October 2009
Excellent book,reassuring whilst honest in dealing with sad feelings,Incredibly helpful to read with my 7 year old whose father is terminally ill.Enabled ongoing discussions over sad feelings and how they are okay! Beautifully illustrated and managed to get the balance just right betwen conveying the message whilst being a pleasure to read.
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