The Colour Thief - A Family's Story of Depression
Written by Andrew Fusek-Peters and Polly Peters
Illustrated by Karin Littlewood
Published by Wayland Publishing
Not to be confused with Gabriel Alborozo's awesome book, "The Colour Thief - A Family's Story of Depression" deals with one of the hardest subjects to broach for younger readers. It's also a very tough book to review without sounding slightly ham-fisted about the subject, but we will try our best.
Andrew Fusek-Peters and Penny Peters have written the story of a young boy who sees his father's behaviour and whole outlook on life radically change as he begins to suffer from depression.
The story, along with accompanying illustrations from Karin Littlewood, caringly and touchingly describes how the dad changes, subtly at first but more pronounced as depression takes hold - and reinforces the point that the boy may feel that he's somehow to blame (but obviously isn't).
Powerful allusions are made, comparing depression to feeling like being trapped in a block of ice, with life on pause though obviously life goes on.
The book's illustrations change in tone from colourful and happy, to dark and cloudy. Showing that help can be sought and that it takes a long time sometimes for that help to become effective, it answers many of the questions children might have but perhaps can't seek from their family members directly involved.
We've only seen one other book on the blog that touches on this most sensitive subject (Shaun Tan's "The Red Tree" also makes reference to depression in many ways), but "The Colour Thief" more directly maps to real-life situations that children can perhaps more readily and clearly identify with.
A hugely important book, expertly developed and written and something that would be a huge huge help for children struggling to understand the symptoms and the changes that depression can cause.
Charlotte's best bit: The slow transformation for the dad as he gets the help he needs, and slowly but surely heads on the road to recovery
Daddy's Favourite bit: An expert and sensitive treatment of a hugely difficult subject to put across in understandable terms for children, but a book that will be a real help to children in families where a member suffers from depression. Important, and deserving of a gigantic amount of recognition.
(Kindly sent to us for review by Hachette / Wayland Publishing)