Suzy Davies Reviews : “The Dog Who Found Sorrow,” by Ruta Briede, illustrated by Elina Braslim. 5-Stars *****
Great lyrical story with edgy illustrations that give it a modern, urban feel. Good for teaching children how to manage difficult emotions such as sadness or depression.
Simply written and accessible to small children, this story of a black dog shows children how, when we are sad or depressed, the world looks very different from when we are happy. We can feel all alone with no-one to comfort us or understand us. This black dog knows we have to visit the source of our sadness, even if it means reaching up, so we are bigger than ourselves, into a dark, dark sky – a sea of tears.
When we see that in all the gloom even a bright pink rosebush can lose its scent, and everyone else seems to be full of gloom, we know “the sorrows” can be caught.
How do we comfort people when they are sad? Well, we sit right beside them, match their mood, we might even play some music. And we let them play along too since doing something creative can offer solace. It’s possible that they will want to dance!
Gradually dark rain-clouds will lift. Our city that was once black and gray, and filled with smoke, will transform into a colorful place again.
This quirky book is a great way of showing children how to cope with “negative” emotions such as sadness and depression. And it may be useful to counselors, teachers, parents, and caregivers who want children to open up about how they feel. It is always helpful and comforting for young ones, who may be frightened about their emotions, to know that no matter how dark our mood, we can find joy again. And they need never feel isolated or abandoned.
This picture book has a modern arty feel, and the originality of the story is matched by the drawings. It is suitable for all children around 6-8, but I think it will be particularly relevant to children who live in urban areas.