I was thinking about the guest post that Lindsay did for me, and how she recommended Your Fantastic Elastic Brain as a tool for teaching kids about how they can have a growth mindset.
Anyway, I thought about what I was going to do today and remembered that I needed to review My Dream for You is Happiness, and something clicked. This book is very straightforward about happiness. My favorite line is "There will be tummy aches and stormy days and times when you want to stay and play when it's really time to go. It's OK. You can still be happy."
Choosing happiness. That is definitely something I want my kids to learn. It's something I still need to be reminded of regularly. I think that's only human.
So let me tell you about this book.
My Dream for You is Happiness
by Carole Ann Hausman,
illustrated by Joanne Raptis
When I got an email asking me if I'd like to review My Dream for You is Happiness I read the description and I was like, "I dunno, this could go either way . . . It could be horribly cheesy." But then I looked at the cover again and I was like "Aww, that's so cute! It reminds me of My Neighbor Totoro. I want to see all the other pictures inside." So then I googled the illustrator and spent more time than I had intended looking at her work online. And I requested a copy of the book.
And hooray! It's not super cheesy! It's just the right amount of cheesy. Just great. A simple text with lots of adorable pictures and a nice message.
The art is in the chibi style. If you're not familiar with it, among it's hallmarks are huge heads and eyes. According to an online tutorial I read, chibi bodies should only be 1.5 times the size of the head. I was reading about this because I was reading Melissa Wiley's book recap Our Week In Books and then browsing adorable chibi instagram journal of chotskibelle and searching "How to Draw Chibis" online so now I'm pretty much an expert. Not. :)
The cover does give you a good idea of what the interior art will look like: muted tones, simple backgrounds and great light/shadow. Each page is illustrated with a different child in a scene, and I feel this helps make the book even more universal. Boys, girls, babies, parents, grandparents, and puppies are represented. Skin tones vary. I'm not going so far as to say everyone will recognize themselves in its pages, but I did appreciate the variety.
Since the book was published by a very small press (so small that the website has only this one book on it) I'm guessing it didn't have a big team behind it. I think the book would've benefitted from a couple of small changes: it has one typographical error in the front-matter, and in the corner of one picture there's a sunshine that stands out as quite odd to me. But over all I'd say it's a really sweet book and nicely done.
I plan on keeping it in my collection, and using it as a tool to help teach my kids about choosing happiness. We've read it together already, but I think with repeated readings its message will sink deeper into their minds.
Turns out bookstores reward people who refer customers to them. The images above are affiliate links, and if you use them to make a purchase, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you.
While we're talking about buying stuff, this is some of the illustrator's work that I mentioned looking at. Custom chibi drawings from the Joanne Raptis's Etsy shop. I think it would be so unspeakably cute to have a family portrait done.
UPDATE: So I read this book with the kids again, then asked them what happiness meant to them. They were confused by this question, so I rephrased: "What makes you happy?" By this time they had got into the dress ups and started going crazy. Benjamin (pictured right) said, "I'm happy when I'm silly!" Both boys agreed that they were happy when they were full of good food. I plan to ask them again when they get home from school. And I challenge you to ask your kids what makes them happy. Then share what they said in the comments below.