This is a really cute book that teaches kids a bit about depression. It's a bit over-simplified, because it's for kids (if you know anything about depression, you know that it's much more complicated than feeling "sad"). But for kids, I think "sad" works as a way of describing feelings that might be too complicated to otherwise express.
The character in this book sometimes feels sad. Being with friends can help, or it can make it worse. Being alone can help, or it can make it worse. Sometimes doing something fun and exciting can help - but sometimes, it just makes it worse. The character wants to confide in his friends and family, but he fears being judged or to "just be happy" - which never helps.
The book ends with another character - a grandparent, I think - taking him aside and validating his feelings, telling him it's okay that he sometimes feels sad. This ends up making the character feel a lot better, because it makes him feel like he isn't alone. I thought that was a really great message. I think when someone is depressed, people feel obligated to "make them feel better" or "cheer them up", but sometimes all that's needed is understanding and a sympathetic ear.
The art is pretty simplistic, but it works for the story. I thought this was really sweet, and a surprisingly deep exploration of feelings. I love that books like these are coming out. Mental health is so important.
Thanks to Netgalley/the publisher for the review copy!
3 out of 5 stars