Colin Thompson review. The Little Big Book of Happy Sadness.

6th Grade Level (Grades 5 & 6)

Colin Thompson Review and Summary

The Colin Thompson review on this page is based on own experience in using the reviewed text as shared book reading material.

The books I select for review have all proven excellent sources of language stimulation.

The Big Little Book of Happy Sadness (Colin Thompson review)

A scene from Colin Thompson's, The Big Little Book of Happy Sadness

The Big Little Book of Happy Sadness tells the story of George, a lonely young boy who visits a dog shelter every Friday on his way home from school.

George lives alone with his grandmother, an elderly woman who, presumably, enjoys cooking and knitting. George's parents are absent from his life and this fact is established on the first few pages.

As stated in the text, and hinted at in the illustrations, George and his grandmother live separate lives, though they live in the same house.

George visits the dog shelter on Fridays because it comforts him to be around something that is lonelier than he is. George always heads for the last cage in the last aisle, which is like a death row for unwanted, unloved canines.

On one of his ritual Friday visits to the shelter, George discovers Jeremy, a three legged stray dog who is condemned to soon go on a journey from which there is no return.

George saves Jeremy after breathlessly convincing his grandmother that they do indeed need to save this dog. In Jeremy, George recognises a kindred spirit, and both Jeremy and George find friendship in each other.

George's friendship with Jeremy helps George to fill the empty space he feels inside.

Colin Thompson review (Themes of Big Little Book..)

Colin Thompson uses his own experience as a child separated from his parents to give this tale an emotional authenticity. It really does have the ring of truth to it.

Colin Thompson is a highly skilled illustrator, and the images very effectively support the text. The language is quite sophisticated at times, so I would recommend that a clinician or teacher help students extract the text's deeper meaning, using shared strategic reading.

The themes of loneliness, isolation and the fate of stray dogs is examined in some detail.

There is no shying away from what is at times quite dark subject matter. Colin Thompson is to be admired for tackling these difficult issues in a children's book.

The book also features such themes as overcoming disability, and the importance of friendship and hope.

The Big Little Book of Happy Sadness is a brave and beautifully written story book that has an important message: sadness and loneliness can always be overcome, and to never give up hope.

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