Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Eva Eland ; illustrated by Eva Eland

Pub Date: Aug. 25th, 2020
ISBN: 978-0-593-12770-4
Publisher: Random House

Sometimes Happiness skips right in step with your stride; other times it’s hard to locate or hold onto.

Readers find Happiness within this winning book’s covers, where it takes shape as a cheery neon pink, amorphous figure (with stumpy appendages and a funny little twisty topknot). Bright cartoon illustrations show a pale child in T-shirt and slacks engaging Happiness in myriad (literal) ways. Happiness hula-hoops, reads, marches, and eats ice cream with the youngster; it also gets lost in a dark forest, runs away, and nods off to sleep. The narrator, a steady and soothing voice, sums up what’s so very hard to understand about Happiness. “You can try to understand it, collect it, or protect it. / You can try to catch it.…But most of the time Happiness appears to have a will of its own.” Vivid, straightforward vignettes are done in a springtime palette on spacious cloud-white backdrops with nary a black line in sight. They succinctly illustrate just how exhilarating, elusive, and ephemeral Happiness can be. A powerful spread of the child riding out mammoth waves in a small boat aptly describes the bravery and resolve required to submit to overwhelming feelings and see them through. A culminating image of the sleeping child curled in bed, cuddling Happiness close with lemony morning light filling the room, provides great comfort.

A playful, poignant, and wonderfully reassuring book for children as they encounter emotional hills and valleys.

(Picture book. 4-10)