Paula Knows What To Do Reviews

School Library Journal

“This poignant book is filled with love and kindness. Paula and her daddy take care of one another following the loss. Despite their sadness, this tale highlights the relationship that Paula and her daddy still have. The illustrations are filled with softly drawn pictures of Paula and Daddy, along with Paula’s paintings in bold primary colors. VERDICT A wonderfully comforting book for children who have experienced loss.”

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The Horn Book Magazine

“The text does not gloss over the different ways parents and children can grieve, or how in grief those roles may be reversed. Readers are left with thoughts about the therapeutic ability of art to express emotions and create healing spaces for the imagination to work through loss.”
—Julie Hakim Azzam

Read the full review in the July/August 2019 issue of Horn Book Magazine

Kirkus Reviews

“When a young girl’s father is too sad to get out of bed, she paints him a picture and the two go on an imaginary adventure together….Author/illustrator Dufft’s watercolor illustrations skillfully combine an assured, realistic watercolor style to portray Paula and her father, with a rudimentary childlike stroke to visually highlight the imaginative adventure. Light and shadow are used to great effect to convey mood…A gentle, touching story of loss and resilience and of the beneficial role imagination plays, with visually intelligent and well-executed illustrations.”

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Midwest Book Review

“Written and illustrated by German children’s book author Sanne Dufft, Paula Knows What To Do is a sweet and poignant story about memory and overcoming grief, showing how a child’s imagination can find a moment of joy and a safe place to land after a loved one is gone. Unique, thoughtful and entertaining, Paula Knows What To Do is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 4-8 years.”

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Youth Services Book Review

Rating 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a starred review) 5

What did you like about the book? This is a simple story about a little girl who decides to cheer up her family after the loss of her mother. In the story it says that mommy is gone so you never really know if it involves death or divorce but there is a loss that is making the father sad so it can work either way….Their adventures take them flying in the sky and then a soft landing right back into her father’s bed. This does cheer up her father and he makes coffee and hot chocolate and they sit looking at her beautiful pictures. You really have a feeling that, although they are both sad, things will be better as long as they are there for each other….

To whom would you recommend this book? Perfect for children between the ages of two and five and definitely a great book to start a conversation about dealing with a loss….

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” pile? Yes”
Kristin Guay, Centerville Library, Centerville, MA

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Resource Links

“Because this is a book about loss and sadness it can be read to any child. The wording surrounding loss isn’t specific, (the author says Paula’s mom is gone), so gone could mean death, divorce, or that the mom went away on a trip. Children can take comfort in the fact that they can feel less sad by helping someone else when they are feeling similar feelings.”
—Tanya Boudreau

Read the full review on page 3 of the April 2019 issue of Resource Links

CM Magazine

“Watercolour illustrations depict the naturalistic figures of a small child in pajamas and her unshaven father who are taken from a bedroom and whirled up into an imaginary adventure. The backdrops move from the cosily domestic to open blue water to the dark, forbidding skies of the storm. The spread near the beginning which shows Paula kneeling on the floor to start her painting of the sailboat, with a wide-eyed teddy bear looking on, is especially affecting. There is a clever repetition of a large white expanse of cloth with prominent red dots which functions both as Daddy’s bedsheet and the sail of the painting-inspired boat….

Paula Knows What to Do, a gentle piece of bibliotherapy…would be useful in discussions of feelings and of the loss of a parent. Recommended.”
—Ellen Heaney is a retired children’s librarian living in Coquitlam, British Columbia

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Sal’s Fiction Addiction

“Gently told, visually lovely with its range of color and light, and uplifting, children will be happy to know that father and daughter can weather the storm that loss brings.”

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Canadian Bookworm

“This lovely picture book uses two styles of drawing, one to tell the story, and one to show the drawings that Paula makes, bringing them together in wonderful ways….I loved how the drawings tied into the bed covering, and how the sense of adventure that Paula instigated brought energy into the story. A great book to use to begin discussions of loss and grief.”

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