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HAPPY  by Mies van Hout


by Mies van Hout & illustrated by Mies van Hout

Age Range: 4 - 10

Pub Date: April 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-935954-14-9
Publisher: Lemniscaat USA

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 crayon, 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.” (Picture book. 4-10)