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Saturday, July 21, 2018

I'm Sad, written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Debbie Redpath Ohi. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018. $21.99 ages 3 and up

"Why do sad things happen? 
That's just the way it is.
But WHY is that just the way 
it is? 
Because if it were any other
way, then THAT would be
the way it is and it's not that
way. It's this way.

That doesn't make any sense 
at all."

Poor Flamingo! Filled with sadness, and concerned that the misery will never leave, he shares his thoughts with a lively little girl, and a potato. After a lot of empathetic sighing, the potato suggests that some cheering up might help. The little girl, exuberant and full of ideas, suggests ice cream, hockey, jungle adventures, spy stuff. All the while she is smiling and coming up with further suggestions, potato has only one solution ... DIRT! Nothing works.

Flamingo expresses another worry:

"Will you still like me if 
I'm sad again tomorrow? 

I don't like you just 
when you're happy. 
I like you all the time. 
When you're sad or angry 
or bored or anything else."

What a wonderful way to help young readers make some connections and gain understanding for feelings, and how we express them!  The two creators perfectly communicate the dialogue that happens between the three friends by using color coding - a different color for each speaker. It provides an ideal book for a shared and expressive read. What fun for all!

The text is appealing, and shrewd. The digital artwork matches the tone of the telling with plentiful white space and lovable characters whose demeanor is always obvious. Potato's final response, both verbal and evident in its depiction, provides a lighthearted moment and a splendid outcome. 

Don't miss this one ... and if you haven't yet read I'm Bored (Simon & Schuster, 2012), check that one out as well. You will not be sorry; nor will your listeners be.

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