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Michael Rosen's Sad Book

4.47  ·  Rating details ·  2,319 ratings  ·  400 reviews
With unmitigated honesty, a touch of humor, and sensitive illustrations by Quentin Blake, Michael Rosen explores the experience of sadness in a way that resonates with us all.

Sometimes I'm sad and I don’t know why.
It's just a cloud that comes along and covers me up.

Sad things happen to everyone, and sometimes people feel sad for no reason at all. What makes Michael Rosen s
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published February 3rd 2005 by Candlewick Press (first published September 28th 2004)
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Average rating 4.47  · 
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 ·  2,319 ratings  ·  400 reviews

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I almost made it through Michael Rosen's Sad Book without getting sad, but then I got to the part where he explains that he often isn't thinking about anything sad, but then his mind will shift:

And then I remember things. My mum in the rain.

Eddie walking along the street, laughing and laughing and laughing.

And then he's sad again. (Both Mum and son, Eddie, have passed on).

My daughters heard the tell-tale sob in my voice as I arrived at this point in the book. They were quiet and waited patient
Dec 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is the best concrete example I have of why Goodreads needs to add an option for giving a book multiple reviews.

Many of us read books more than once. We read at different times in our lives. We read books in different ways.

Because of that, we have different opinions of the books we read as time passes.

When I first read this book, I was teaching a children's literature class. In that context, I loved it because it talked about emotions without pandering to kids, without being gooey or
Dave Schaafsma
I read this because I am reading books about fathers and sons, and sometimes books about grief. This one is really great, and powerful, in that it is written by a celebrated children's book illustrator who lost his young son. Not surprisingly, since the book deals with this loss, it's a book about grief, which seems to broaden to the extended, sometimes almost crippling depression Rosen experiences. This book is Rosen's attempt to speak to kids about the sadness they may also experience because ...more
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Nature of the Beast

Grief waxes and wanes.
It is a beast of many faces, many forms.
It cowers in the shadows, then tiptoes gently, bearing warm, sad, poignant memories.
Occasionally, it wanders off for two or three days.
Then it pounces, baring its teeth, and drawing blood and tears.

Some days I feel almost “normal”, and others, even three months later, I’m tearful all day. Most of the time, it’s somewhere in between, with a mask to cover the cracks, and spare others from dealing with my pain.
Mutasim Billah
I've always found defining sadness difficult, as have most of us. It is very distressing to put it into words. What IS sad?

Is it a late night ride that brings back memories of people lost in time? Or is it a familiar drink or a dish that emanates nostalgia? Or is it something more, a constant brooding feeling of dread?

Here, in this short picture book, Michael Rosen writes about sad, about faking emotions and about living with grief and sadness as he walks through life.

He mentions his second son,
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Who is sad? Sad is everyone. It comes along and finds you."

Oh boy.......I couldn't help but quote this book overview; it is just so perfectly stated.

"We all have sad stuff - maybe you have some right now, as you read this. What makes Michael Rosen most sad is thinking about his son Eddie, who died. In this book, he writes about his sadness, how it affects him and some of the things he does to try to cope with it. This is a very personal story that speaks to everyone; whether or not you have k

Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: x-tbr-owned
Can't praise this enough. Whether you're grieving, or depressed, you'll feel at least a little bit better to know that somebody else gets it. No matter if you're 7, 17, or 77. Even if you're doing just fine, I bet you know somebody struggling... and this might help you to better understand them.

I've read it twice now. I really should own a copy.
Maybe shelve it with Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened.
Helen (Helena/Nell)
Dec 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Helen (Helena/Nell) by: I can't remember
I knew about this book. I had even heard Michael Rosen talking about it on the radio and liked the idea. But I hadn't read it.

Then a friend died rather suddenly, leaving his wife and an amazing ten-year-old daughter who plans to be a writer, engineer, inventor and cartoonist. But it's not good when your dad dies. It's not good for your mum either, and so I remembered Michael Rosen's Sad Book, which they didn't have.

So I sent for it, to send to them. It's a big book -- a bit taller than A4 and qu
Apr 13, 2019 added it
Shelves: for-children
This is a tough book to review. It’s an honest and poignant look at grief, and it’s told in simple language, bit by bit, for children to read and understand. Inspired by the author’s grief at the death of his son, this story tells of a man struggling to pick up the pieces of his life. There is no overarching plot, but the book touches on different aspects of the man’s life in the time of sadness. Little things that were once simple are now impossible, and even the most mundane parts of life are ...more
Hend Adel
Dec 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I went into the book store asking for Micheal Rosen's books for young readers (for my son). The lady showed me 2 books but I found them too young for him. I thanked her but she said "wait a minute" and came back holding that book. I told her "Thanks, I am not looking for a picture book as I told you I want one for young readers, my son is 7 years old". "I know, it isn't for your son, it is for you" she said putting it near me. "But I won't buy a picture book" I replied. "Don't buy it, read it an ...more
Rob Delaney
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very important. My wife and I lost a son. This book is helpful to us and our surviving boys. Very kind of Michael Rosen to write it and share it.
Henry Martin
Sep 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
An interesting little book. Actually, a sad little book, so the title is more than appropriate. Michael Rosen dopes something here that we do not often see in children's books - he touches upon coping with tragic events. Children, like adults, experience tragic events in their lives, and many times their feelings are not addressed in a reassuring way. This book addresses sadness, depression, even death of a child and a parent. For this reason, I decided to rate this book. It is rare to find such ...more
Sep 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
In our life, all of us have probably gone through some situations where we had to pretend that we are happy though life was beating us down. We had to put a smile on our faces so that no one could understand what was actually going on inside. Because “All the world’s a stage….”
Life is the greatest teacher of all and the best thing it teaches us is how to fake emotions!

This little book represents that thing very intensely. Well, I won’t categorize this book as a children book. Because kids are t
Phoebe Ledster
A beautiful book full of honesty. It’s a comfort to read and the illustrations provide a brutal truth which accompany the text in a way which allows you to really empathise with the author. Reading this with children would provide great opportunities to explore something that we sometimes fail to acknowledge- sadness. I would highly recommend this book.
Sophie Crane
May 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This a beautiful book about Michael Rosen and the death of his son, Eddie. It is powerful and touching.
This is a great book on dealing with a loss, and the depression that can follow.
Its one that can help children but also help adults understand their feelings and emotions at such a sad time.
Tom Garrett
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: loss, depression
This is a beautifully haunting book of honesty from Rosen, with perfectly executed illustrations by Blake. I adored reading this despite its difficult themes and emotions it provoked, and I feel it should have a place in every classroom as it can show people (not just children) how everything is not always okay and bad things can happen. And that’s okay.
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Where is sad?
Sad is everywhere.
It comes along and finds you.
When is sad?
Sad is anytime.
It comes along and finds you.
Who is sad?
Sad is anyone.
It comes along and finds you.
Katie Handford
This is a really beautiful book full of honesty around grief. This book deals with a common emotion in a concrete way. Rosen really captures the true emotions of sadness with the message that sometimes people are sad and it happens all the time but its's okay. Rosen talks explicitly of the loss of his son and therefore this book is a wonderful one to discuss grief with young children but also all children who also feel the deep and confusing feelings that he does. I think that this may be a diff ...more
What a powerful and honest book. It very nearly had me in tears at work today. Like Shaun Tan's the Red Tree, The Sad Book acknowledges that negative emotions like sadness, anger and depression are not solely an adult concern but something that happens to people of all ages.
What makes Michael Rosen's Sad Book special, and likely to resonate just as deeply with adults as with children, is the deeply personal way in which Rosen talks about his own sadness after his son's death. His straightforwar
Alice Bennett
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a very moving book that explores the feeling of sadness through an honest and open account from a man who is dealing with the loss of his family. A book like this might provide some comfort to a child who may be experiencing something similar, as the message is that no matter how bad things may seem, you can always find happiness in the light (symbolised by the glow of the birthday candles lighting up the final pages).
Amy Aldridge
Oct 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This is a really moving story. The way Rosen has written it about his own struggles, I think would be inspiring to children to talk about and address their own. The book is beautifully written and something I would love to use for base to some PSHE discussions. I also really enjoyed the use of some poetry as well, adding to this book even more! Yes an emotional story, but one I think would be incredibly valuable to a classroom.
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful and honest book about what it is like to feel sad. I think that both children and adults would benefit from reading this book. It’s thought provoking and brilliant. The illustrations are beautiful also, Quentin Blake does such a good job with this. The pictures in this book really support what Rosen is trying to convey. Would work wonderfully in a PSHE session- depending on your children’s backgrounds and past experiences.
Jennifer Spiers
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Wow I didn't think I could have such a reaction to a picture book as an adult. Honest and moving, absolutely recommended.

Using this book in the classroom:

Sad book is very different in tone to Rosen's other work, with unusual content for a picture book that is both beautiful and emotional for adult as well as older child readers. Written as a stream of consciousness relating to his own sadness and how he deals with it, it contains many rhetorical questions which make you relive your own experienc
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-lit
A questionable book for children because of its extreme sadness. Not sure there is much in it that can help a child to fathom death. There are better ways to handle it. The father in this book has lost a child, and he is terribly depressed. Personally, I saw nowhere that he recovered from it.

One way to help children with death is to show them nature. There are dead creatures in the forests. Let the child see death in its reality. Never give them fantasies.

Here is a site on helping children wit
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-book
' Who is sad?
Sad is anyone.
It comes along and finds you.'
Ellie L
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: father, bereavement
Absolutely incredible! I think that all readers can be empowered by Rosen's display of honesty with his own feelings, and the impact that the loss of his child has had on his life. Rosen has stuck a beautiful balance between the conflicting feelings of bleak desperation and small glimmers of hope that peak through whilst he recalls his memories with his son. What I like best is how Rosen personifies sadness, saying "sad is anyone. It comes along and finds you.", an apt description that turns the ...more
Rasha Zayed
Feb 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Loved it so much

Maybe you think I'm being 😊 in the pic. Really I'm being 😢 but pretending being happy.
I'm doing that because I think people won't like me if I look sad ...

Sometimes I am sad and I don't know why, it's just a cloud comes along and covers me up

Sometimes I don't want to talk about it not to anyone ..I just want to think about it on my own. Because it's mine.and no one else's.
Rory Wise
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Both heart breaking and poignant. Rosen’s brave step of documenting his own experience, rather than that of a fictional character is a demonstration of how YOU can deal with bereavement, and includes several useful techniques for anyone going through hard times in their lives, regardless of their age.
Jan 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A wonderfully illustrated book about dealing with sadness and bereavement.

Aimed at younger readers but still very nicely handled for any age.
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book, being autobiographical, provides the reader with a real-life insight into Rosen's life, combining sincere and genuine text alongside Quentin Blake's striking illustrations.
The story tells of the sadness that Michael Rosen experiences in his day-to-day life. It explains some of the reasons behind the feelings and emotions, a prominent reason being the death of loved ones. Rosen mentions that it is also OK to be unsure of why you are sad. He then goes on to relate to other people by hig
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Michael Rosen, a recent British Children’s Laureate, has written many acclaimed books for children, including WE'RE GOING ON A BEAR HUNT, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, and I’M NUMBER ONE and THIS IS OUR HOUSE, both illustrated by Bob Graham. Michael Rosen lives in London.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

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