A great review from Kirkus for A Bottle of Happiness, out in the US in 2020!
A modern yet timeless fable in which a child’s observation sparks a paradigm shift for a society that values individual production and ownership. Two groups of humans live on either side of a mountain, leading disparate lives due to the range of resources available to them: One side catches fish, mines jewels, grows crops, and sells things among themselves, while the other side must eke out a living with crops grown in weak soil. What this second group lacks in material wealth, however, they more than make up for in close-knit community, freely sharing experiences and stories. The book’s child protagonist, Pim—who is never gendered by the text—hails from the storytelling group. One day Pim ventures to the marketplace over the mountain in search of a new story but finds much more. Goodhart’s prose, which captures both the wonder and pragmatism of many folktales, is supported by Abdollahi’s vibrant, detailed patchworklike watercolors. The angular, almost cubist artistic style, featuring paper-white figures with large eyes and elongated limbs, lends the text a surreal, vaguely unsettling affect that echoes its anti-capitalist message. The text placement is visually dynamic in several spreads, though certain other design elements distract rather than support; for example, the cover’s muted gray background clashes with its rounded, colorful display type. A richly illustrated, accessible critique of consumer culture and scarcity mentality. (Picture book. 4-8)
- Read a blog post: what would our own bottles of happiness hold?
- Read a blog: A Bottle of Happiness is a perfect Christmas book!
- A magical puppetry performance of A Bottle of Happiness is coming to Hay Festival! Link
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