Kirkus Reviews QR Code
HAPPY KID! by Gail Gauthier


by Gail Gauthier

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: May 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-399-24266-X
Publisher: Putnam

Whimsical feel-good comedy about a friendless seventh-grade boy who receives a life-changing self-help book that may have magical properties. This slyly fanciful but unambiguously humorous story opens when Kyle, a hapless kid who’s negative enough to make a cheerleader boo, gets a book from his well-meaning but irritating mother titled Happy Kid! A Young Person’s Guide to Satisfying Relationships and a Happy and Meaning-filled Life! Although he’s horrified by the gift and initially has to be bribed to read it, Kyle finds that weirdly, miraculously, the book works, though not always in the way he would like. Gauthier, who pulls off the difficult feat of writing an amiable, malice-free send-up of self-help, brilliantly nails Kyle’s helping professional mom. Kyle’s lightly sketched father is a genuine hoot, and her depiction of the constantly undulating social status and insecurities of middle-grade kids rings true. Light and slight, won’t produce life long happiness, but will certainly give the reader an enjoyable couple of hours. (Fiction. 10-14)