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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Dog Who Found Sorrow (The)
by Ruta Briede
Age Range: 6-8
An entire city is suddenly enveloped in mysterious billowing clouds of black smoke. Everything becomes grey, robbing it of its vibrancy, colour and scent. The gloomy smoke covers the sky; too heavy for the wind to scatter or for the rain to get through. No one can do anything about it and the people feel helpless and sad. A brave dog, whose fur is transformed from white to black in an instant, decides to uncover the source of all the greyness. He climbs up into the sky towards a big black cloud to find out what is lurking there and to make it go away.
The Dog Who Found Sorrow is an unusual and lyrical tale by Latvian author Rūta Briede. A clever parable about the power of the emotions, made accessible by the simplicity of the language, swirling white text and very visual imagery, will help young children to understand sadness and depression: how sometimes our world can be full of greyness where everything can look very different. The dog comes to understand how important it is to visit the source of the sadness and to find a way to manage it.
The atmospheric smudgy black shadow illustrations by Latvian artist Elīna Braslina, who also translated the story into English, produce an eerie quality that emphasises a drab melancholy world without colour. As shades of pink slowly begin to emerge after the dog has ripped a hole in the cloud and tears of sorrow fall, the brightness increases and the healing begins as the darkness slowly dissipating. This captivating, original and modern story is certainly one that should resonate with our times making it ideal not just for children but adults too.
The Dog Who Found Sorrow Both author and illustrator received the International Jānis Baltvilks Award in Children’s Literature and Book Art in 2017.