Mr and Mrs Cripps owned a little dog,
an unwanted Christmas present from a friend.
They fed the dog, and washed him,
even cleaned inside his ears.
But they didn’t give him a name.
Sad ‘s owners, Mr and Mrs Cripps, feed him and wash him, but they certainly don’t love him. They disapprove of almost all his behaviours, until he is too sad to do anything much at all. When his owners move out and leave him behind, he is so lonely he howls. Then new owners move in and Sad is not sure how to interact with them or their boy, Jack. Jack, however, is happy to include Sad in everything he does, to love and to play with him. Under Jack’s care, Sad abandons his old name, his old life and happily accepts a new one. Watercolour illustrations fill every spread and depict the Cripps with sad, pinched faces. In contrast, Jack and his parents are constantly smiling. Spreads are full of tiny details for young readers to discover.
Sad, the Dog is a lovely story, sensitively told, beautifully illustrated about a dog and his family, and the power of love. Sad’s life is very limited with the Cripps. They are not cruel, but they are really not interested in having a pet. And Sad knows it. He is wary of the newcomers, having known only functional not emotional care. But he is soon won over by the simple love and care and companionship Jack and his family offer. Readers will boo the Cripps’ and cheer Jack as ‘Sad’ becomes ‘Lucky’. Highly recommended for pre- and early schoolers, and junior year levels.
Sad, the Dog, Sandy Fussell ill Tull Suwannakit
Walker Books Australia, 2015
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller