Mies van Hout - Friends

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A monstrously beautiful book in the style of Happy

Happy was an international hit that showed off Mies van Hout's uncanny ability to convey feelings with her vibrant illustrations.

With Friends she goes one step further and shows emotional interactions. Just as she made the fish of Happy uniquely hers, here she uses monsters to show different situations--they cuddle, laugh, play, but they also fight, tease and more--making the images recognizable for little monsters of all ages.

Twice the fun of Happy!

"Van Hout used wildly expressive fish to illustrate emotions in 2012's Happy. Twelve pairs of equally exuberant monster friends do the job in this excellent companion book, each representing a verb. As in Happy, Van Hout's scribbly, childlike creations are set against a pure black backdrop, letting his neon palette shine all the brighter. While different monsters appear on each spread, there is a clear emotional arc. The word "play" opens the book, as a yellow doglike creature in a sweater and a turquoise horned monkey smile giddily at each other. "Bore" on the next page leads to "tease, " which begets "fight, " as two monsters bite and claw furiously at each other. Crying, embarrassment, and reconciliation bring the book to its satisfying conclusion. Van Hout expertly conveys the emotional peaks and valleys of each friendship; the monster's eyes and expressions speak volumes, whether in the case of the small smile of a monster that mischievously pokes a much larger creature with a scorpion's tail, or the quiet, regretful glances that two tiny beasties cast at each other, which say all there is to say about "hope."
- Publishers Weekly, starred review

"With only a dozen or so words and spectacular images, van Hout captures the landscape of friendship for toddlers through teens and beyond.The colors are jewel-bright on black pages, and each opening shows a pair of figures, usually a larger one and a small one, and a single word. . . . Like the earlier Happy (2012), this conveys emotional heft and arresting images in an appealing, child-size package."
- Kirkus

"When Emily Jenkins wrote about van Hout’s Happy from last year at the New York Times, she wrote that he “showcas[es] what an artist can do with a few pastels, black paper and something fundamental to express.” She does it again here, but this time the verbs get to steal the show; each spread is assigned one—”play,” “bore,” “tease,” “fight,” “make up,” and much more—as we witness the ups and downs of very furry friendships. You just might find yourself gravitating to your own pastels and blank pieces of paper."
- Seven Impossible Things before Breakfast

"Done in ink and oil pastels, the rough-hewn illustrations on a black background cleverly explore playfulness, boredom, teasing, fighting, making up, cuddling, and so on. Each spread pictorially describes one word. This book has a lot of child appeal, and no doubt youngsters will choose a favorite monster they can relate to. This short book will pair well in storytimes with other picture books about friendship."
- School Library Journal

Friends | author: Mies van Hout | Hardback, 32 pages | 9781935954231 | $17.95

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Other books by Mies van Hout