THE JAR OF HAPPINESS

A little girl loses her happiness...but just for a while.

Curly-haired brunette Meg has her own secret recipe for happiness. She puts a dab of this and a spoonful of that into a jar and carries it with her everywhere, trailed by her faithful cat. It's her jar of happiness. It's red, yellow, and "all the other best colors." She uses the jar to cheer up her glum friend Zoe and to bring a smile to her grandmother, who has been feeling under the weather. And Meg's little brother, Leon, who gets on her nerves sometimes, also gets the benefit of the happiness jar...sometimes. One day, Meg's jar goes missing; she can't find it anywhere. Zoe arrives to cheer her up, and Oma gives her a big hug and lots of tickles. Leon goes all out, dressing as a monster and performing for his sister; he says that thinking happy thoughts can scare away "gloomy feelings, bad smells and even monsters.” By the end of the day, Meg still hasn't found her jar, but she has found happiness and can sleep soundly. The final illustration puckishly shows the solution to the mystery of the missing jar of happiness. Burrows' gentle tale is gracefully told and well-pitched to a very young audience, with minimal text, clean compositions, and plenty of white space. Meg and her family are white, while Zoe has light-brown skin and straight, dark hair.

Sweet and simple. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-84643-729-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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A winning tale about finding new friends.

FOUND

Bear finds a wonderful toy.

Bear clearly loves the toy bunny that he has found sitting up against a tree in the forest, but he wants to help it return to its home. With a wagon full of fliers and the bunny secure in Bear’s backpack, he festoons the trees with posters and checks out a bulletin board filled with lost and found objects (some of which will bring a chuckle to adult readers). Alas, he returns home still worried about bunny. The following day, they happily play together and ride Bear’s tricycle. Into the cozy little picture steps Moose, who immediately recognizes his bunny, named Floppy. Bear has a tear in his eye as he watches Moose and Floppy hug. But Moose, wearing a tie, is clearly grown and knows that it is time to share and that Bear will take very good care of his Floppy. Yoon’s story is sweet without being sentimental. She uses digitized artwork in saturated colors to create a lovely little world for her animals. They are outlined in strong black lines and stand out against the yellows, blues, greens and oranges of the background. She also uses space to great effect, allowing readers to feel the emotional tug of the story.

A winning tale about finding new friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8027-3559-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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