8th October 2015
Sad the Dog
Written by Sandy Fussell
Released: October 2015
Author: Sandy Fussell
Illustrator: Tull Suwannakit
Title: Sad the Dog
Published: October 2015
Publisher: Walker Books Australia
What does a dog need to feel loved and cared for?
Mr and Mrs Cripps feed their dog, wash him, and even clean inside his ears. But they don't give him a name. So the dog names himself - SAD. What will it take to make SAD, the dog, happy?
Q. Tell us about yourself.
I am a compulsive organiser, an irrepressible (some say irritating!) optimist and a word nerd in every way possible. I like little coloured things like jigsaw pieces, embroidery stitches and beetles. I’m the author of the Samurai Kids series and the historical novels Jaguar Warrior and Polar Boy (CBCA shortlisted). Sad the Dog is my first picture book.
Q. What is your book about?
Sad the Dog is a soulful story about a little dog who is cared for but unloved. His owners don’t give him a name so he names himself, Sad. They move house and leave their dog behind with the new occupants. When Sad meets Jack, he finds a new life and a new name. It’s a book about friendship, hope and the responsibility involved in owning a pet.
Q. Who is your target audience for this book?
I believe picture books are for everyone, young and old, although Sad will have special appeal for anyone who has ever loved or lost their heart to a little dog.
Q. What aspects did you enjoy most about this book?
I love that I actively share the creation of this book with two other people. Unlike my other books, I don’t have a feeling of “mine” about Sad. Tull Suwannakit’s illustrations add a critical layer to my words and make Sad real for me. Sue Whiting (my editor) showed me how to look with “picture book eyes” and her advice gave the story more depth. When I get excited about something Sad-related, Tull and Sue are excited too. Everything is better shared with friends. I hope we get to do it all again.
Q. What aspects did you find challenging about this book?
The marketing and promotion of a picture book is a challenge in a world where bookstore shelf space is limited and a picture book requires the most space of all. Sad the Dog is supported by a social media presence (visit his Facebook page and follow this blog tour), wonderful promotional materials and activities created by Tull, Teachers Notes from Walker Books and school visits and bookstore events by myself and Tull. It could be the only Australian picture book that comes with its own knitting pattern (download here).
Q. How did the idea for Sad come about?
Sad is based on the true story of a dog named Cassie, who lived next door to me. Casually giving away a family pet was so incomprehensible that I thought about it on and off for many years even though, like Sad, Cassie found a happier life with her new family.
After I finally wrote the text, one more step was needed to bring the idea to life. That step was completed when Tull’s dog Soya posed for the illustrations. The story stopped being about Cassie and completely belonged to Sad.
Sandy Fussell loves words, numbers and playing around on the internet. She is the author of fourteen books including the best-selling Samurai Kids series. She calls herself the Cinderella author, convinced someone waved a magic wand over her, and secretly worries she might turn back into a pumpkin in the middle of a school visit.
She is an ICT consultant, Editor at The Reading Stack, Technology Blogger at Brisbane Kids, co-owner and Festival Co-ordinator at The Story Crowd and one subject short of a Maths degree. Her biggest claim to fame is a star in the main street of Grenfell along with legitimately famous people like Patrick White, Slim Dusty and Dick Smith.
Sandy curates Read, Write, Draw a Flipboard magazine showcasing the talent of Australian authors and illustrators for children. She believes in giving back and paying forward. Having survived two life-threatening illnesses in the last 4 years, she knows for certain the glass is always half-full.