Taking a Bath with the Dog and Other Things That Make Me Happy

( 2 )


From celebrated illustrator Scott Menchin comes a wise and witty meditation on the true secret to happiness.

"I miss your smile today, Sweet Pea. What would make you happy?"

What do you do when it seems as if nothing will make you happy? For one little girl, it’s a good time to take a survey, from subjects including a quick little rabbit (running around in a wheel), a balding gent (counting rings on a tree), a snazzy centipede (shoes, lots of shoes), and other sundry characters....

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From celebrated illustrator Scott Menchin comes a wise and witty meditation on the true secret to happiness.

"I miss your smile today, Sweet Pea. What would make you happy?"

What do you do when it seems as if nothing will make you happy? For one little girl, it’s a good time to take a survey, from subjects including a quick little rabbit (running around in a wheel), a balding gent (counting rings on a tree), a snazzy centipede (shoes, lots of shoes), and other sundry characters. Enlivened by his whimsical characters, Scott Menchin’s amusing story shows us that just doing what we love to do best can bring the biggest smiles of all.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Feeling blue, and stumped as to what might cheer her up, a girl (called "Sweet Pea" by her mother) poses the question "What makes you happy?" to a fanciful array of characters. In his authorial debut, illustrator Menchin (Bounce) cheerily portrays the youngster and respondents in ink and watercolor spreads against pastel backdrops. Sweet Pea's own dog, dressed in a shower cap and carrying a rubber ducky, replies "Taking a bath!," while a rabbit likes to run on a hamster wheel (who knew?) and a woman with a nest of squiggly red hair indulges in adorning it with myriad bows and clips. A droll sense of humor is evident as well: an elderly man perches next to a tree stump, stating that he enjoys "counting," while a dapper gentleman on a park bench demonstrates his love of "stripes" with a comically clashing outfit-and a striped tabby on a leash. Sweet Pea (who herself begins to smile about halfway through her informal survey) gradually realizes that many things make her happy and, in a rebus-like spread, she catalogues more than 20 things that do just that, including "bake cookies with faces," "stick finger puppets on my toes," "slurp spaghetti" and "swim at night." This will likely inspire youngsters who are in a funk to seek joy in the unexpected as well as in the perfectly ordinary. Ages 4-8. (July)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Dianne Ochiltree
The author/illustrator, who has illustrated Wiggle by Doreen Cronin and many other picture books, has created both words and pictures for this sprightly, new picture book. The story is told in simple but lovely words and images. The sentiments expressed in the pages speak to kids and adults alike: finding out what makes you happy should be at the top of everyone's daily ‘to do' list. The story stars Sweet Pea, who usually greets the day with a smile. But today that smile is missing. Mommy and Daddy ask, "What would make you happy?" Sweet Pea does not know. So she asks a lot of people and animals the same question. Her discovery? Different things make everyone happy, and that is perfectly okay. Kids will love the bold, textural full-color illustrations imagined from a kid's point of view. The text is minimal but moves the story along at a nice pace. This book is a good choice for school, library or home bookshelves—and is certain to jump-start a good conversation with kids on what makes them happy. Reviewer: Dianne Ochiltree
School Library Journal

When Mom asks her uncharacteristically sad daughter what would cheer her up, Sweet Pea responds that she just doesn't know. So she goes on a quest to figure out what makes others happy and finds out that it's a lot of different things. "What makes you happy?" she asks her dog, and the pooch tells her, "Taking a bath!" She repeats her question to a woman with long golden locks, who answers, "Playing with my hair." Stretched out on the ground, nose-to-nose with a mole peeking out of its hole, Sweet Pea asks again, and the creature replies, "Digging." Vibrant solid-color backgrounds vary on each spread, and vivid illustrations, done in ink, watercolor, and digitally, make great use of pattern, line, and perspective to showcase Sweet Pea's encounters with various people and animals. The youngster finally figures out that a lot of things can make others smile and lists some of her own favorites, such as riding her bike, sticking finger puppets on her toes, and slurping spaghetti. While taking a bath with her dog, Sweet Pea also discovers that some things can make you and someone else happy at the same time.
—Shelley B. SutherlandCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Light and humorous, this is a sweet revelation of life's simple and attainable joys. Seeing her young daughter in tears, Mom asks, "What would make you happy?" To which the youngster replies, "I don't know." The girl then begins to survey a variety of people and animals, always asking the same question, "What makes you happy?" and always receiving a unique answer. The dog replies, "Taking a bath!" The rabbit, however, loves the spinning wheel; one wild-haired lady enjoys playing with her crazy locks; the man on the bench finds happiness in stripes. All of this gets the round-faced girl to musing. With her newfound wisdom and her happiness rejuvenated, she can think of many, many things that make her smile. She recalls, among others, how much she likes making faces or staying up late. To striking effect, the illustrations contrast the characters painted in textured watercolors against a backdrop of one vivid color. This gladdening little read can act as a terrific impetus for adults and children to compare and list what brings them everyday happiness. (Picture book. 2-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763629199
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 6/12/2007
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 572,966
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott Menchin is the illustrator of the picture book WIGGLE by Doreen Cronin as well as MAN GAVE NAMES TO ALL THE ANIMALS, an award-winning children’s book based on a hit song by Bob Dylan. He has created illustrations for TIME, NEWSWEEK, the NEW YORK TIMES, ROLLING STONE, and other publications, as well as for several major companies. Scott Menchin lives in New York City.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 17, 2009


    My 4 year old loves this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2008

    a favorite

    my one-year old daughter loves to read this book several times in a row, chiming in when she recognizes a word. we read it almost daily. of many books, this is her uncontested favorite. i highly recommend it!

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