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Monday, 27 October 2014

Review: The Big Little Book of Happy Sadness by Colin Thompson

My first encounter with Colin Thompson was during my training as a student teacher. My English teacher read The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley. She was a great orator and it made me want to read the book to my eventual kids.

Move onto 2014 and another ex-teacher (Julie) is reading me The Big Little Book of Happy Sadness

Happy Sadness is about George, a young school aged boy who is lonely. More than lonely, he just has nothing in his life besides an old grandma who doesn't understand him. George likes to head down to the dog pound, something that actually makes him happy. One day he walks to the back of the pound and spots a three legged dog. As he stared at the dog and the dog stared back at George, it was like he was seeing a reflection of himself. The pound was closing in 1 hr and that was all the time he had to run back home to ask his grandma's permission to adopt the dog.

Like all Colin Thompson's books I have read, they are sophisticated picture books. The story has a deeper meaning, uses great vocabulary and requires the reader to infer. While this book is an older book (2009), like anything good it stands the test of time. 

However, having a good story is not why I really love this book. Julie (the ex-teacher) showed me that there are so many things you can do with this book as a teacher. Getting kids to infer meaning, learning new vocabulary, being inventive and creative (three legged dog...what's missing ^_^), comparing the changes in George throughout the story. 

I'm in the process of nutting out a great series of lessons because of this book and hopefully can share with you all. For the moment, just enjoy this book for what it is, a great adventure with George.

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