When Sadness Comes to Call

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Eva Eland, When Sadness Comes to Call, Andersen Press, January 2020, 32 pp.,, RRP $16.99 (pbk), ISBN  9781783447954

This first picture book from Dutch-born English author/artist Eva Eland is the first in a proposed series of Big Emotion picture books.  

Gentle in colour and texture, this book is a reading experience to be approached gently and quietly. Muted colours reminiscent of 1950s illustrative styles combine with simple line drawings (soft brown, not black) with large expanses of blank space on the thick, creamy paper. 

Sadness is personified. He comes to call in the shape of a large, mint-green shadow-blob. Sadness is present and will not be pushed away. Learning to live with sadness and resume normal routines despite his presence, allows the child character to move bravely through daily activities. The child is able to sleep at night, in acceptance of the emotion, and finally wake up in the morning to find that sadness has left of his own accord.  

The book finishes on a positive note with a new day. Small elements of soft raspberry colour have been introduced into the illustrations throughout the text as optimism grows. On the last page, spring flowers in this  pink shade complement the mint green leaves. Sadness has departed. 

This sensitive book offers hope to children in times of sadness and despair. Time, activity, and patience are shown as the way forward through difficult times. This is a message for all of us in an uncertain world. 

Reviewed by Julie Thorndyke 

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