This is a brilliant blog post by Pippa Goodhart, the author of our recent title A Bottle of Happiness, where she expresses her experience of reading the book to children and their lovely reaction to it.
A Bottle of Happiness is my newest book, and I’ve only just started taking it into schools with me. It is always slightly daunting, reading a book to a group of children for the first time, because you very soon know whether or not the book works with its intended audience. If children are bored or confused by a book, that becomes evident on their faces even if they are sitting politely and listening. A slam-bang funny book will get a noisily appreciative reaction. An action-packed one might have them tense, finger to mouth. The questions asked in my You Choose book has them shouting out their answers.
But the books I come to enjoy reading the most over and over again are the ones where the children who might be distracted at the start settle as they listen, coming under the story’s spell. They sit, gazing at the pictures, silently, sometimes mouth-agape. And there’s a moment of silence once the story has ended as they let the story sink in, not quite wanting to break that spell.
That, to my joy and slight surprise, has been the reaction to A Bottle of Happiness. Why surprise? Because I wrongly thought the fable sort of story might feel old-fashioned to today’s young children. But I was wrong. That sort of storytelling is timeless. And the main character here, Pim, is a child they clearly relate to when he tries to carry happiness in a bottle, gets laughed at for being silly, and then satisfyingly proves those scoffers wrong. That story arc of the child underdog triumphing is always going to please! But they recognise that there is more to the story than Pim’s experience of it.
So far, I’ve only used the book with Year 2,3 and 4 children. But I’m told by a teacher who used A Bottle of Happiness on an assembly for over six hundred children that it worked for the whole of the primary school age group.
My best moment with that book so far? When, after that silent pause at the end the story, a small voice said, “Read it again!” and she was joined by others asking for the same thing. So I did.
Buy This book here
More about A Bottle of Happiness:
- Food for Thought. A review by Jill Bennett. Link
- Our exciting new title. A Blogpost. Link
- Open your minds to different ways of seeing the world! An interview with Pippa Goodhart. Link
- A child’s language is an international language. An interview with the illustrator.Link
- Stunningly original and beautifully presented. A review by read it Daddy. Link
- The illustrations are wonderful. A review by North Somerset teachers Book Award. Link
- Tiny Owl introduces its Christmas present. Link
- A Bottle of Happiness among Books for Keeps Christmas giving list. Link