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....the illustrations, simply drawn with pastels, are captivating and will bring a connection and a smile... Happy is a delightful and unique book that brings feelings to the page in a non-traditional but welcoming way."
The Children’s Book Review
"Van Hout pairs each of twenty adjectives with a facing-page illustration of a fish embodying the word: the "sad" fish is all blue, the "curious" fish has bulging eyes, etc. The artstriking, brightly colored drawings against black backdropsis noteworthy..."
…a tour de force of underwater awesomeness and emotion, showcasing what an artist can do with a few pastels, black paper and something fundamental to express. I want to hug it and buy a copy for every shorty on my list.
The New York Times Book Review
Van Hout’s (The Child Cruncher) catalogue of emotions is dead simple: an emotion word (“shy,” “surprised,” “proud”) appears on one page, and a drawing of a fish expressing that emotion is shown on the other. But what fish! Scrawled like children’s doodles or cartoons in sizzling lines of scarlet, orange, aqua, and fuchsia, each one swims alone in an ink-black sea, reacting to experiences readers can only guess at. The emotion words, one per spread, are handwritten with childlike care over pages scribbled with color, and are just as suggestive of each emotion as the fish are. “Curious,” a canary-colored fish, glides goggle-eyed toward something off-page. On the opposing page, the letters that spell “curious” are all different colors, like a cheerful ransom note. The “Nervous” fish is long, thin, and miserable-looking, outlined in pale, tremulous lines. “Bored” is a flounder, almost cross-eyed with ennui. There’s no particular story arc, or even a story to be found within each drawing—it’s a delightful amuse-bouche of a book, and an aquatic introduction to everyday emotions. Ages 2–up. (Apr.)
New York Times Book Review
Mies van Hout’s “Happy” is a tour de force of underwater awesomeness and emotion, showcasing what an artist can do with a few pastels, black paper and something fundamental to express. I want to hug it and buy a copy for every shorty on my list...On the last page, a gloriously plump whalelike creature surges upward, ending the book with a surprising sense of closure: “delighted.” No reader could feel otherwise.
"A delightful amuse-bouche of a book." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Mies van Hout's
Happy is a tour de force of underwater awesomeness and emotion, showcasing what an artist can do with a few pastels, black paper and something fundamental to express. I want to hug it and buy a copy for every shorty on my list...On the last page, a gloriously plump whalelike creature surges upward, ending the book with a surprising sense of closure: "delighted." No reader could feel otherwise."
New York Times Book Review
PreS-Gr 2—Van Hout uses fish with varying facial expressions and postures to depict 20 different emotions. The fish themselves are drawn in colorful pastels and set against black backgrounds, while the word for the feeling portrayed is on a bright, textured background hue, e.g. "furious," shows an angry fish with the word on a bright red background. This attractive book could be used one-on-one or in a small group to discuss what causes one to feel a particular way and to introduce the vocabulary of emotions.—Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ
Beautiful, vibrant fish--although not ones found in nature--illustrate emotions in this art piece for children and for adults translated from the Dutch. Each double-page spread is constructed with an image of a fish on one side, in what looks like a chalk drawing on a blackboard. Opposite is a single hand-lettered word, also drawn in chalk or crown, on a jewel-toned, textured sheet. "Brave" is a very small pale fish with a tentative smile, isolated in the lower corner of the black page, opposite a cherry-red page with the word
brave in lower-case white letters. "Sad" is small, smeared letters on a blue page like streaks of rain or tears. The large blue fish opposite has little definition; eyes and mouth are almost invisible in its misery. The "content" green fish aligns itself in the precise middle of the page; one can almost see it wriggling in its satisfaction. The "shocked" square-ish fish is shocking pink and purple and prickly, with open mouth and round eyes. The line, color, and texture make each page a pleasure to return to, and each single word is fully expressed in its corresponding picture. Along with the azure-and–sky-blue ovoid fish at the end, readers will pronounce themselves, in yellow, white and green letters, "delighted." (Picture book. 4-10)