Gi Hallmark | The Children’s Book Review | March 15, 2014
Reading level: 2 and up
Hardcover: 52 pages
Publisher: Lemniscaat USA (2012)
What to expect: Emotions, Feelings, Fish, Vibrant and Captivating Illustrations
Happy presents a cheerful introduction to emotions through the portraits of some very colorful and expressive fish that seem to be swimming in the depths of the dark sea. Author and illustrator Mies Van Hout has expertly captured the feelings behind 20 emotions that can be sometimes difficult for a child, and adult, to explain. One of the aspects making this book so wonderful is that each page in this book can be used as a tool to share the world of emotions with a child, who may just be learning how to articulate a lifetime of complicated feelings.
The turn of each page presents a double page with a beautiful illustration of a fish against a black background on one side and the corresponding description of his feeling on a brightly colored and textured page on the other side. There is no story in traditional text, the only words are handwritten adjectives like shy or surprised or glad. But make no mistake, share this book with your child and there will likely be a story told by your child for each of these adjectives. There is a wide spectrum of emotions represented, and the corresponding lesson is that we all experience these emotions and it is natural to feel sure at one moment and afraid the next.
At 52 pages, Happy is longer than most picture books targeted for the 2 and up age range. However, the illustrations, simply drawn with pastels, are captivating and will bring a connection and a smile. After sharing this story, ask your child to draw their own fish with feelings. Readers, no matter the age, will be engaged and curious to see what’s next. Happy is a delightful and unique book that brings feelings to the page in a non-traditional but welcoming way.
About the Author-Illustrator
Mies van Hout (1962) studied at the Arts Academy in Groningen, where she majored in graphic design. She has been working as a freelance illustrator and graphic designer since 1989. Over the years, she illustrated quite a lot of children’s books. Her illustrations are cheerful and witty, painted skillfully and distinctly. Visit: http://www.miesvanhout.nl
Add this book to your collection: Happy, by Mies Van Hout
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Happy, by Mies Van Hout, was reviewed by Gi Hallmark, founder of www.thechildrensblog.com.