Mies van Hout - Happy

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The fish stand out in vibrant colors, showing a spectrum of emotions - from happy to sad, from angry to surprise - for the youngest book lovers to discover.

Clear, strong lines and radiant colors that seem to smile at the reader characterize Mies van Hout's drawings. In Happy, Mies shows all the emotions a young child encounters. Each double page spread is devoted to one fish, showing a particular emotion with its name in lettering that expresses the same feeling. Swim into Happy where the dazzling fish sparkle against the dark background and let the images spark laughter and empathy.

Explore emotions with your child

"Van Hout's catalogue of emotions is dead simple: an emotion word (ashy, a "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 as 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.

... a delightful amuse-bouche of a book, and an aquatic introduction to everyday emotions."
- Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

"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.""

"Happy is a kaleidoscope of emotional colors splashed on a black canvas of solidarity.
Happy provides ample opportunities for extensive discussion about the expression of emotions-a true, potentially interactive delight for young readers and their caregivers."
-NY Journal of Books, Renee Hand

Happy | author: Mies van Hout | Hardback, 32 pages | 9781935954149 | $17.95

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