Try not to be afraid of sadness. Give it a name.
One of my favourite illustrations from this book is on the copyright page. Sadness, represented by a mint-green amorphous blob, stands outside a closed door. On the other side of the door, a little girl clutches an open book in her hands. She peers cautiously over the top of the book, looking in the direction of door.
The book describes the little girl’s changing relationship with sadness. In a gentle, matter-of-fact tone, it describes how sadness makes the little girl feel. It follows her attempt to hide it and, then, offers a roadmap of how you might confidently, without fear, get to know sadness a little better.
The illustrations melt my heart. In one, the little girl sits at the table drawing with sadness. In another, they hold hands and take a walk in the woods. Perhaps the drawing that moved me the most is where she gives sadness a hug. Finally, she goes to sleep with sadness wrapped round her like a blanket: sadness knows it is not alone says the text. On the wall is a drawing of the little girl and sadness holding hands.
Once you have read this book, look more closely at the illustrations on the endpapers. Those at the front of the book show sadness alone and unhappy. As we reach the final endpapers, Sadness is seen smiling. It holds a bouquet of flowers in one drawing and sits with the little girl reading a book in another. The illustrations may be simple but they are full of emotion and the story, simply-told, is packed with wisdom and warmth. I look forward to further offerings from Eva Eland.