Review Blog

Aug 23 2011

The happy book by Malachy Doyle

cover image

Ill. by Caroline Uff. Bloomsbury Books, 2011. ISBN 9780747595489.
(All ages) Highly recommended. Malachy Doyle hits the spot with this wonderful picture book. In the blog, An Awfully Big Blog Adventure  he writes that the inspiration for the book was an old Swedish proverb:

'Fear less, hope more,
Whine less, breathe more,
Talk less, say more,
Hate less, love more
And all good things will be yours.'

Doyle takes the reader, young and old through a series of scenarios showing both negative and positive feelings and behaviours. Malachy comes up with ways of helping to prevent the nasty situations and emotions that all children face: teasing, having toys grabbed from them, grumbling, shouting and squabbling. Each scenario gives the reader a real solution to start feeling happy in difficult times. I particularly loved the 'Tease less' on the left hand page and 'Tickle more' on the right hand page and the 'Worry less', 'Wonder more' instruction followed by the 'Be happy'command.
The language has a rhythm to it that lends to having it read aloud, and I can imagine young children joining in with a chorus of the antidotes to the negative feelings. Caroline Uff has produced warm, colourful images of an older sister and younger brother in familiar surroundings. Her drawings complement the words and add to the inviting nature of the book.
This is certainly a book that could be used for classroom discussion to help produce a happy, co-operative atmosphere and will be a boon as a family read. Now I have to decide whether to keep it for a personal bible to being happy or send it to London to my grandchildren!
Pat Pledger

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