Sad the dog – Sandy Fussell

My very talented author friend Sandy Fussell has just produced her first picture book, Sad the dog and it’s a truly extraordinary story.

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 7.37.37 pmSandy is best known for her Samurai Kids’s Series and award winning Polar Boy, and although it’s for younger readers, Sad the dog is bound to be every bit as popular.

Sandy had kindly agreed to share her picture book writing truisms with us today and I’ll be telling you more about Sad the dog after that..


I’m a junior fiction novelist by design and a picture book author by happy accident. My learning curve had more twist and turns than a Zentangle doodle.

These are the six key things I learned from writing Sad, the Dog:

  • The first draft of a picture book is lightning fast. Do not be deceived by this.
  • It is followed by more redrafts than a 40,000 word junior novel.
  • Not a single word is safe from the editing process. In a picture book there is nowhere for a word to hide.
  • Under 400 words does not mean you can’t still have a plot hole.
  • An illustrator is a picture book story’s best friend.
  • A first picture book is writerly love at first sight.


Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 7.35.45 pmSad is given as a present to a couple who don’t want him. They look after all his physical needs but give him no love or positive attention. Whenever they interact with him it’s to yell about his bad behaviour, which is brought on by the fact that he is desperate for attention.

When the Cripps move house, they leave Sad, the dog behind. This actually could turn out to be a good thing – especially when the new owners are a family with a young boy.

Sad’s story is simple, but so moving. It’s completely relatable to our modern day life when people are given pets or somehow acquire them, but don’t give them the love that they need.

This is an important story for the home or classroom on so many levels.

Sad postcardeditIt’s not just about pet care and responsibility.

Sad could easily be a child – and Sad the dog is a book that can help build empathy towards other children who may be physically or emotionally neglected.

The poignant text blend harmoniously with Tull’s soft, whimsical illustrations.

Tull has captured Sandy’s beautiful words and added a new layer of meaning to them with stunning, heartwarming illustrations.

Young readers will also relate to the kinds of activities that Sad gets yelled at for when he is really just being playful and not trying to cause  trouble.

Sandy has even provided a knitting pattern so you can make your own Sad the dog.

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 9.26.17 pm

Sad the dog is for readers aged 3+

A touching look into the life of an unloved pet and the heart-warming journey towards finding your true home.

Sad, The Dog

by Sandy Fussell and illustrated by Tull Suwannakit.

Thursday 1st October, Kids’ Book Review
Friday 2nd October, Kirsty Eager’s Blog
Saturday 3rd October, Buzz Words
Sunday 4th October, Sandy Fussell’s Blog
Monday 5th October, Susanne Gervay’s Blog
Tuesday 6th October, Boomerang Books Blog
Wednesday 7th October, The Book Chook
Thursday 8th October, Creative Kids Tales
Friday 9th October, Dee Scribe Writing
Saturday 10th October, Children’s Books Daily
Sunday 11th October, Reading Upside Down
Monday 12th October, Sandy Fussell’s Blog

4 thoughts on “Sad the dog – Sandy Fussell

  1. This looks and sounds wonderful and I can’t wait to have a copy in my hands. Love the ‘truisms’ – yes, so …er …true! I’m still making changes to one picture book text which was started in 1999 – must be time for another submission soon …and then I’ll immediately find something else that could be changed to make an improvement.

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