Happy (Emma Dodd's Love You Books)
“Kudos to Dodd and Nosy Crow/Candlewick for doing what reads like a mama-baby picture book that’s accessible to all children and all kinds of parents.”
Happy, part of the Emma Dodd’s Love You Books series, is the kind of picture book that parents, especially working ones, will love reading over and over again for its spare, uplifting, and lyrical language: “I know that you are happy when you wake me with a song. I know that you are happy when you hop and skip along.” Children will delight in the playful big and baby owl images peering from each page, as well as warm to the images of the loving bond that big owl and baby owl share.
What makes this picture book even more special is that it isn’t stated in the text whether big owl is a mama, papa, uncle, auntie, grandparent, foster parent, or other form of guardian so Happy could be a perfect read for any child, not just for those born into a traditional family structure. The parental or guardian reader will easily identify with and assume the big owl role and the child will relate to baby owl and the message of the story without feeling alienated or different.
Through each “I know that you are happy when . . .” spread, big owl gives baby owl just enough space to explore the world and take risks but is never too far away should baby owl need help. “I know that you are happy when you try out something new . . . and if you don’t succeed at first, I’ll help until you do.”
Help comes to baby owl with big owl’s promise to do whatever it takes to chase away the gloomy clouds and ends with the reassurance of big owl’s love. Every other spread is embossed in gold giving Happy a festive look and making it a worthy gift for birthday or other holiday celebrations. Kudos to Dodd and Nosy Crow/Candlewick for doing what reads like a mama-baby picture book that’s accessible to all children and all kinds of parents.