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The cover of Michael Rosen's Sad Book, illustrated by Quentin Blake.

Sad Book is a book by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Quentin Blake. The book's topic is dealing with grief. Although it is marketed as a children's book, Rosen explicitly mentions on the inside book jacket that it is for everyone. The book chronicles Rosen's grief of the loss of his son Eddie, who died of meningitis aged 18.[1]

Rosen said that the book arose after a group of children asked him questions about his son's death and they were able to discuss it in a "matter-of-fact" way.[2] It begins with a picture of Rosen looking happy, with text explaining that he is sad and only pretending to be happy. The book frequently uses a disconnection between text and image to communicate the complex feelings of grief.[3]

The remainder of the book discusses the different feelings that bereavement brings, and ways of coping with them including distracting oneself and expressing feelings through writing. It also describes how Rosen found his despair lifting and how he was able to deal with his grief and think about the good times he had with his son.[2]

Critical reactionEdit

The Guardian found it very sad, but highly recommended it, saying, "Sad Book doesn't hide the darkness. It doesn't try to pretend that suffering and sadness are easy to bear. But it does at least show that it's okay to feel bad sometimes."[4] The Daily Telegraph considered whether it was suitable for children, and felt that parents would need to use the book as a stimulus for discussion and would have to explain some of its ideas.[2] Publishers Weekly praised it for its candour and said it "will resonate with – and help – anyone mourning a loss or dealing with an indefinable sadness".[3]


  1. ^ Dina Rabinovitch "Author of the month: Michael Rosen", The Guardian, 24 November 2004
  2. ^ a b c Bradbury, Lorna (30 Jan 2005). "'Sometimes sad is very big. All over me'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
  3. ^ a b "MICHAEL ROSEN'S SAD BOOK". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
  4. ^ Jordison, Sam (12 December 2012). "Darkness in literature: Sad Book by Michael Rosen". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 June 2015.