Happy cover

By Mies van Hout & Mies van Hout

Happy

Mies van Hout’s Happy is a tour de force of underwater awesomeness and emotion, showcasing what an artist can do with a few pastels, black paper and something fundamental to express.”—New York Times Book Review

Who could have guessed that dazzlingly colored fish swimming in an ink-black sea would help hundreds of thousands of people around the world learn to recognize and name their emotions? In 2012, Mies van Hout’s Happy swept the scene as both a stunning art piece and a social-emotional learning book like no other. On each of its spreads swims a single fish, each scale and fin suffused with an emotion that the facing page names in similarly expressive letters: curious, shocked, loving, content…

Now, in this stunning edition of Happy, van Hout’s luminous fish swim across extra-heavy pages that will endure through countless readings. A gorgeous dust jacket reverses to a playful poster for home, classroom, or office.

Readers of all ages can benefit from expanding their emotional vocabulary. Use Happy during a story time full of energetic face-making, or emote with your whole bodies for a drama exercise. Share it one-on-one to help someone name what they’re feeling, or inspire budding artists to see what they can do with chalk pastels and black paper. Or simply page through the art and lose yourself in Mies van Hout’s ocean of extraordinary fish. Whatever makes you…happy.

“It’s a delightful amuse-bouche of a book, and an aquatic introduction to everyday emotions. Ages 2– up!”—Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Available In

Hardback

Ages 1-3
ISBN: 978-1-77278-287-5
List Price: $24.95 CAD / $19.95 USD
Hardback with reinforced binding & laminated cover
Trim Size: 11.38 x 9.25 inches / 28.8925 x 23.495cm
Pages: 24

Publication date: May 23, 2023

Distributed in Canada by University of Toronto Press

Distributed in the U.S. by Ingram Publisher Services

Carton Quantity: 24

Board book

Ages 1-3
ISBN: 978-1-77278-314-8
List Price: $14.95 CAD / $11.95 USD
Board book
Trim Size: 7.75 x 6.25 inches / 19.685 x 15.875cm
Pages: 24

Publication date: March 26, 2024

Distributed in Canada by University of Toronto Press

Distributed in the U.S. by Ingram Publisher Services

Carton Quantity: 1

About this book

Reviews

Praise for Happy

2024 Bank Street College of Education “Best Children’s Books of the Year” Selection 

School Library Journal: Fuse 8 “31 Days, 31 Lists: 2023 Picture Book Reprints” Feature 

2024 Children’s Book Council “March Hot Off the Press” Feature 

2023 Children’s Book Council “June Hot Off the Press” Feature 

2023 Children’s Book Council “May Hot Off the Press” Feature 

“Starred. Van Hout’s catalogue of emotions is dead simple: an emotion word (ashy, a “surprised,” “proud”) appears on one page, and a drawing of a fish expressing that emotion is shown on the other. But what fish! Scrawled like children as doodles or cartoons in sizzling lines of scarlet, orange, aqua, and fuchsia, each one swims alone in an ink-black sea, reacting to experiences readers can only guess at. The emotion words, one per spread, are handwritten with childlike care over pages scribbled with color, and are just as suggestive of each emotion as the fish are….It’s a delightful amuse-bouche of a book, and an aquatic introduction to everyday emotions. Ages 2- up.”Publishers Weekly **Starred Review**

“Mies van Hout’s Happy is a tour de force of underwater awesomeness and emotion, showcasing what an artist can do with a few pastels, black paper and something fundamental to express….The creatures accurately represent the emotions, but they’re also unexpected — fresh colors, strange shapes. Most of them look like deep-sea creatures, floating and emoting about the secret lives they live in the black depths of the enormous ocean….Even simple books about feelings can exhibit complexity, ingenuity and passion, inspiring my very favorite emotion: curiosity.”The New York Times Book Review

“Van Hout uses fish with varying facial expressions and postures to depict 20 different emotions. The fish themselves are drawn in colorful pastels and set against black backgrounds, while the word for the feeling portrayed is on a bright, textured background hue, e.g. “furious,” shows an angry fish with the word on a bright red background. This attractive book could be used one-on-one or in a small group to discuss what causes one to feel a particular way and to introduce the vocabulary of emotions.”School Library Journal

“Beautiful, vibrant fish—although not ones found in nature—illustrate emotions in this art piece for children and for adults…. 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.’”Kirkus Reviews

Happy provides ample opportunities for extensive discussion about the expression of emotions—a true, potentially interactive delight for young readers and their caregivers.”New York Journal of Books

“Could you identify a shy fish? How about a bored or shocked or brave one? This sweet book about recognizing emotions on the faces of others (all fish here) will inspire thought and conversation about what it’s like to feel these often perplexing things. Day-glow pastel drawings on a black background drive home the power of single-word text entries.”Foreword Reviews

“Emotions can be so complex and a challenge to communicate…Happy makes this complicated subject more manageable and enjoyable with simplistic one-word text and stunningly beautiful pieces of art with fish. This book goes beyond the basics of happy, sad, and mad to incorporate an enriched emotional vocabulary such as startled, curious, and content. It makes a great gateway book to dive into complex conversations about our feelings, and the feelings of others, to help create a more empathetic child, classroom, and community.”CLCD – Children’s Literature

“I laughed out loud…Of all the one-word books out there, this one might be one of my favourites.”—Book Time

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