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- Age Group
- Middle Grade
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Written and illustrated by Sarah VerrokenBuy Now
About the Book
Feeling Sad is about a little duck that is feeling sad and is trying to find a way to feel better. Black clouds hang over Duck’s head, and she doesn’t know quite what to do until a little frog encourages her to take heart. Taking up Frog’s challenge (“No puck, Duck?” he asks), Duck hatches a plan that gives her the feeling that she has the power to change things. With her little toy Cuddly she sets off to find the sun. Will her plan work? Will she find the sun? Or will it find her first?
Verroken makes highly effective use of black and white illustrations, introducing color only slowly, graphically describing the feeling of sadness and how it can lift.
Awards and Reviews
Winner of the International Illustrator’s Award of the City of Hasselit in Belgium
Winner of the 2008 Plantin Moretus Prize
Nominated for the Boekenpauw 2008 (the annual award for the best illustratred Belgian picture book) and by the Kids and Youth Jury of Flanders (the winners of both awards will be announced in 2009)
"Two Stars. I love the way the illustrations change from black and white to color as Duck feels better. A great book for little ones dealing with sadness or grief. I can't help but think of how much this book would have been a big help for my bipolar son when he was little, helping him to express his feelings and find a way to feel better. The illustrations absolutely convey the mood change in a way that will make sense and delight your little one as he looks for the 'bright spots' in the gloomy day." - Lisa Barker, JellyMom.com
"A deceptively simple Dutch import (with the deliciously evocative original title of Boos) shows young readers a way to turn their moods around. Duck, despite the presence of her beloved toy Cuddly, 'is not having a good time. Everything around her seems so gloomy.' She makes her way through a black-and-white landscape as clouds lower and rain begins to fall. 'Could the clouds be sad too? Duck feels worse than ever.' But a cheerful frog encourages her to 'Look ahead!' and Duck sees 'a tiny bit of color.' Emboldened, she gathers the clouds together to help her find the sun. As Duck begins to take control of her day, Verroken begins to digitally add color to her bold woodblocks until, when the sun finds Duck, the landscape is saturated with it. The illustrator’s control of line and color easily communicates Duck’s emotional journey, her self-translated text complementing it with ingenuous charm. It’s an offbeat little tale, but children should feel empowered by its take-charge message. Who can’t respond to a duck that tells clouds what to do?" - Kirkus Reviews
"Poor Duck. "Everything around her seems so gloomy." The only color in her world comes from her toy, Cuddly. Everything else is black and white. She is "grumpy and sad," and so is her world. Slowly, as her mood lifts, color returns to her world.
The Good: I love the drawings; woodcuts, that slowly, slowly introduce color. I love that the text doesn't point out the gradual introduction of color; it's for the reader to notice. When I first picked up on it, sure enough, I was actually a few pages behind.
On one level, it's about a gloomy Duck. And Duck sees only a gloomy world. And of course it's about what the title says: Feeling Sad. When we feel sad, we see things one way; as our mood changes and brightens, how we see thing change, and it can be a slow process.
On another level, it's not just sadness -- it's also depression. And kids can be extreme in their emotions; high highs and low lows. And they see it in others. So a book that shows that -- that reflects that reality? Especially that sometimes people (and Ducks) just feel sad for no reason? And does it without being all obviously bibliotherapy about it? Good.
Plus, I really really like the illustrations.
Enchanted Lion is a small publisher; and I'm consistently impressed with the artistry of their picture books. Seriously, sometimes I just want to cut pictures out of their books and frame them. -- A Chair, A Fireplace & A Teacozy
The Mystery Bookstore in Los Angeles picks a top ten for 2010 - and Feeling Sad is on it!