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HAPPY AGAIN by Igor Plohl


From the I Like To Read series

by Igor Plohl ; illustrated by Urška Stropnik Šonc ; translated by Kristina Alice Waller

Pub Date: Dec. 6th, 2022
ISBN: 978-0-8234-5376-4
Publisher: Holiday House

An anthropomorphic lion, based on the author himself, adjusts to becoming paraplegic.

With short, simple sentences, translated from Slovenian, Plohl introduces beginning readers to the character first seen in his picture book Lucas Makes a Comeback (2021). At first, “Lucas is a happy lion,” his arms outstretched, his house and bicycle in the background. But after Lucas falls from a ladder, “he cannot walk anymore. Lucas is sad.” As a frowning Lucas imagines cycling, driving, and skiing, the author asks, “Can Lucas be happy again?” Fortunately, life improves: Lucas “learns new ways to do things,” such as ironing. He uses a low sink and gets help with housekeeping. He gets a hand-powered bike, and his friends give him a “special car,” presumably with hand controls. Though being a teacher makes him smile and playing wheelchair basketball makes him cheer, he’s only “almost happy again.” What’s missing? As Lucas and another lion tenderly hold paws, the author explains, “He needs someone to love. Now he is happy again.” The matter-of-fact text and Šonc’s bright, appealingly childlike cartoon illustrations reassure readers that adaptations and support make it possible to thrive with a disability. However, the ending, though sweet, risks implying that truly being happy after becoming disabled requires a romantic relationship. Color photos of Slovenian author Plohl performing everyday activities conclude the tale. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An upbeat introduction to coping with a disability.

(Early reader. 5-7)