Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Book review: Happy by Mies Van Hout

Happy by Mies Van Hout is a simple picture book for younger children.  I picked this up for Eden (age 2), but the simple bold-colored fish on a black background appealed to the whole family.  The drawings have the appearance of colored chalks on a blackboard, the media itself of course children can relate to.  Our lovers of sidewalk chalk here certainly were enthralled.

Each 2-page spread shows a colorful fish on one side and an emotion word on the other page, simple, clear, elegant.  Eden loved the pictures, and we went over putting a word to the expression depicted by the fish.  For the older kids (Lily and Noah, ages 5 and 7), we talked about what specific features of the fish were able to tell us the emotion (smile, eyes, eyebrows, etc).  This is an important concept for kids, and being able to dissect and pinpoint the different aspects of facial and body language is difficult for them, especially if they suffer from some types of neurological disorders.  Zach with his ADHD finds this especially difficult even at 10 years old.

This book appeals obviously to young children as simply fun and an introduction to emotion words, but can be used in a more advanced way with young school age children, and even older children needing a very simple visual of face and body clues (even on a fish!) to help decipher emotional cues. 

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