Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Saddest Book EVER! - NOVA this week

Observations from my weekly wanderings, usually in Northern Virginia (NOVA).

I’ve read some depressing tales over the years – Nineteen-Eighty-Four, Blood Meridian, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, others – but the most heartbreaking story I’ve EVER read is…

My First Counting Book, by NAME Lillian Moore, illustrated Garth Williams.

Don't let the adorable cover fool you (I seem to remember some pithy adage about judging books by cover art). It's a classic bait and switch.

The dismal tone of this book hits you full force, first page...

One little puppy, a roly poly puppy, alone as he can be. Isn’t there a boy or girl who wants to play with me?

And if that narrative isn’t enough to tear your heart out, there is the poignant illustration. I admire Williams' talent, but the illustration is too painful for words. (and copyrighted)

I remember a morbid fascination with this book as a child. It ALWAYS broke my heart, but somehow, I kept returning to it – hoping a boy or girl would show up somehow.

I’m sure some of you remember this book – it’s a classic after all, and some might argue that the plot gets more cheerful as it goes along; there are fluffy lambs and cute kittens, other animals I’ve forgotten, but these happy circumstances didn’t cheer me up at all. They only serve to highlight the dismal condition of the roly poly puppy. 

I won’t be reading this to my grandchildren, and I hope they never make a movie rendition.


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