h1 November 26th, 2019 by jules


Ever enter a bad mood and then sweep up others into it? I know I do. The protagonist of Louise Greig’s Sweep (Simon & Schuster, September 2019), a British import illustrated by Júlia Sardà, also does this. And his bad mood makes for a good story.

“Ed in a good mood is a very nice Ed,” the book opens. “Ed in a bad mood is not.” And today, when we meet Ed, he is very much not in one of the good moods. Greig puts some vivid metaphors to use to liven up Ed’s bad mood, describing it not as “one of those tiny whirlwinds in a teacup that blow over before they have even begun” but as a mood that sweeps over him like a “raging storm.”

And this mood sweeps over him as he, well … sweeps. He’s sweeping aside autumn leaves outdoors, but he’s so grouchy that he sweeps up everything in his path; illustrator Sardà also livens up things with some visual hyperbole, which you can see in one of her dynamic spreads below. Nearly everything in town (vehicles and all) gets swept into one giant pile.

Things are rough: Ed is tired and hungry, and everything seems “against him.” If, Greig notes, Ed would only look up to notice the things that normally make “his heart sing,” his mood might shift. But he doesn’t. He even stops to ask himself if all of this is worth it. His bad mood decides for him: Yes.

Things do change. As if often the case, there’s a shift in the wind (sometimes in more ways than one); here, the world starts to look brighter for Ed. He also finally looks up. The air clears. … I think of an article Martha Parravano wrote in the latest issue of the Horn Book, a tribute to Molly Bang’s classic When Sophie Gets Angry…Really, Really Angry. I think of how picture books like this join the canon of books that helps children deal with inner turmoil. Ed is a welcome addition. Ed, who gets to decide on the final page if it’s worth it the next time a bad mood sweeps over him.

I’ve a few spreads below so that you can see Sardà’s crisp, fine-lined illustrations at work. I particularly love this palette — and how she manages never to clutter a spread in ones that features piles and piles of the stuff of Ed’s bad mood. p.s. Note the wonderful opening and closing endpapers when you pick up a copy.



(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)



(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


“So, on he stormed a bit farther. …”
(Click image to enlarge and read text in its entirety)


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SWEEP. Text copyright © 2018 by Louise Greig. Illustrations © 2018 by Júlia Sardà. Originally published in Great Britain by Egmont UK Limited. First US edition 2019. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, New York.

One comment to “Sweep

  1. Ah, another lovely book which puts more nails into the coffin of the theory of The Sweet Wee Child, and lets them be… real kids.

    I love Ed’s scowl, and that even with half his face is covered you KNOW he’s still scowling because he has a world-class glare. I needed this book when I was a little kid whaling on tree stumps in the backyard with a hammer…

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