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The Sad Little Fact

Book review by
Angela Zimmerman, Common Sense Media
The Sad Little Fact Book Poster Image
Wry, whimsical story of "facts" and their fake counterparts.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Young kids can gain an early understanding of fact vs. fiction and why it's so important to uphold facts in the face of fake news. Older kids can gain an appreciation of how this story works as a parable of current events and deepen their awareness of the consequences of burying facts and telling lies.

Positive Messages

Very important messages about the real consequences of burying the truth and telling lies. This can give kids as young as preschool an awareness of what fake information is and how it can be a detriment to society. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The facts do their best to be heard and to reinforce what the truth means. The fact finders know how important it is to uphold facts, and they go on a mission to find them underground and bring them back into the light of day, thus saving the word from darkness. The "authorities" are portrayed as villainous liars. 

Violence & Scariness

The facts are stuffed into a box and buried underground. 

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Sad Little Fact is by Jonah Winter and illustrated by Pete Oswald, the same duo who delivered The Good Egg, the bestselling tale that emphasizes the importance of self-care in today's modern world. This parable about the rise of fake news and "alternative facts" and the destruction they can wreak on the truth is also a reflection of our times. It follows a sad little "fact" who faces adversity from the "authorities" and other proponents of fake news who try to silence him. Those authorities bury him deep underground in a box with a collection of other real "facts." Kids who are too young to understand how this relates to the current media landscape will still appreciate and enjoy the story about cute little colorful creatures called "facts." And The Sad Little Fact could provide an early introduction to media and news literacy. 

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What's the story?

THE SAD LITTLE FACT is just trying to do his job -- reinforce truths and uphold facts. He's sad, though, because the "authorities" are trying to silence facts by sealing them in a box and burying them deep underground. The authorities and their minions churn fake facts out of a factory, labeling them as "real" facts. Some people believe them to be the truth... and so the world turns dark. The real facts (such as "two plus two equals four" and "a refrigerator is not a moose") can't escape the box they're buried in -- until some brave fact finders, determined to uncover the truth, dig deep enough to discover the box of hidden facts. When they are released back into the world, the truth shines again, and the lies are carted off to a recycling facility. 

Is it any good?

This wry, wise story about the importance of upholding the truth is more relevant now than ever,. Even young kids who don't understand the cultural context of how this serves as an allegory to falsehoods in the media will appreciate and enjoy A Sad Little Fact. Writer Jonah Winter and illustrator Pete Oswald have great chemistry, and here they deliver another precious (and astute and cynical) story that kids (and adults!) of all ages will get a kick out of.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how facts are shown in The Sad Little Fact. What's the definition of a fake? What other facts do you know? 

  • Why would the authorities try to bury the facts? Why does the world grow dark when fake facts begin taking over?

  • How do you like the art in The Sad Little Fact? Which picture is your favorite? How does the artist show when a character is sad? 

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