Books to Read When You are Depressed

by BrendaReeves

I've discovered the cure for mild depression. It's not medication or herbal medicine. It's a series of books written by children's author, Cynthia Rylant.

Several years ago, when I was teaching learning disabled children, I ran across a story in the second grade basal reader. It's called "Mr. Putter and Tabby Pour the Tea". Mr. Putter is an elderly man living alone. He's very lonely because he has nobody to share his tea or listen to opera with. He sets out to adopt a cat to cure his lonliness, but everywhere he goes, people try to sell him a kitten. Mr. Putter doesn't want a kitten. He wants an old cat like himself. He finally ends up at the animal shelter and finds Tabby, an old yellow cat in need of a home. He takes Tabby home and the perfect companions are no longer lonely.

Heartwarming Story

I found Mr. Putter and Tabby so heartwarming a story, that I bought the book for myself. I shared it  with a friend and we both became collectors and readers of Cynthia Rylant's Mr. Putter and Tabby books. You may be wondering how reading Mr. Putter and Tabby could relieve depression. I discovered it quite by accident. Let me first say that I do suffer from clinical depression, and I take medication for it and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. I was even hospitalized once. Mr. Putter and Tabby couldn't cure that kind of depression. However, one day I was feeling down and it lasted until bedtime that evening. I got into bed and grabbed a book from the bookshelf next to my bed. It happened to be Mr. Putter and Tabby Pour the Tea. As I began reading the story, a feeling of contentment washed over me. The story is so heartwarming and Mr. Putter and Tabby's relationship makes you feel that all is right with the world and there's nothing to be afraid of.

Other Characters

Mrs. Teaberry and her bulldog Zeke live next door to Mr. Putter and Tabby. Mrs. Teaberry has a thing for Mr. Putter and is always bringing him desserts. Her dog Zeke is hilarious. In the book Mr. Putter and Tabby Stir the Soup, Mr. Putter babysits Zeke. While he is slaving away at the stove over a big pot of soup, Zeke gets into everything. He walks into the kitchen with a plant, a lamp and all kinds of paraphernalia. Each time, Mr. Putter declares Jimminy, Zeke and grabs the item and places it in the bathtub. Pretty soon the bathtub is overflowing with all kinds of household items.  

Cynthia Rylant's Other Book Series

Cynthia Rylant is quite a prolific writer. Not only do her books entertain, but they are written in simple language for the beginning reader. The humor in her stories is most likely what makes them so popular with children and adults alike. The following list contains her other series books:

  • Henry and Mudge (ready-to-read series)
  • Poppleton
  • Cobble Street Cousins (early-chapter series)
  • The Storm (the Lighthouse Series)

Ms. Rylant has written many other children's books, a list too long to present here. According to Amazon, "she is also the author of the Newbery Medal-winning Missing May, the Newbery Honor Book A Fine White Dust, and two Caldecott Honor-winning picture books."

About the Illustrator Arthur Howard

Although many illustrators are responsible for the pictures in Ms. Rylants books, Arthur Howard, illustrator of the Mr. Putter and Tabby series and an author himself is by far my favorite. Mr. Howard's Illustrations are simple pen and watercolor drawings that lend themselves well to the Mr. Putter and Tabby stories.

Updated: 03/25/2012, BrendaReeves
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BrendaReeves on 05/19/2012

Thank you for commenting Tolovaj.

Tolovaj on 05/19/2012

Cynthia Rylant is new name to me. We don't have her books in Slovenia yet but I will try to remember the series... Thanks for info!

BrendaReeves on 03/07/2012

Thank you everybody for your comments.

sheilamarie on 03/07/2012

I love Cynthia Rylant's books, too. She has quite a gift. The sign of a really good children's author is the way she speaks to the child in all of us. And you're right -- the illustrations are wonderful!
I've enjoyed reading your article.

Angel on 03/06/2012

I really need to try reading this when I get down. I have issues with mood and I get in a funk a lot... so something like this may help bring me out of it. Thanks for sharing!

Yeirl on 03/06/2012

I used to read Henry and Mudge with my kids. When I am down, I like to read Garfield comic books. Also watch Pucca (6 minute show) via Netflix.

BrendaReeves on 03/06/2012

Thank you both for commenting.

Marie on 03/06/2012

'Mr. Putter and Tabby' sounds ideal for my SIL who loves cats and also suffers with depression. I'm glad that the book has been so uplifting for you and might well help other people too - let's hope so.

katiem2 on 03/06/2012

I love it, haven't read these, I'm a huge fan of story books as is my daughters, you never get to old for this. Kids really need an uplifting escape these days with all that wages on around them. Great article, look forward to enjoying this series.

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