BY CORAL bowley, ILLUSTRATED BY ROSIE JOHNSON. £8.99. PUBLISHED BY funfair books and designs ltd. SUITABLE FOR 4-8 YEAR OLDS.
Reviewed by Motherdom Editorial Board member, registered midwife and TV midwife advisor, Penny Taylor.
‘A Search for Happiness’ is a beautiful children’s book that ethically supports sustainability and community projects. It’s printed on FSC certified paper and the reader is encouraged to promote fairer access to picture books by passing it on when you have finished with it.
This story follows a grumpy but cute and curious alien named Zob, who travels to Earth to meet two schoolchildren, Jen and James. They invite Zob into their world to show him what happiness is, and how and where he can find it.
Children will love Zob the alien, who, with his friendly green face and enquiring mind, seeks out what children engage in which makes them happy. It turns out that happiness can be found everywhere, especially in the simple things. Hobbies, outdoor play, fresh air and nature, kindness and helping others at home and at school, spending time with family and friends, listening, supporting and laughing together all feature in the book.
In my opinion, happiness and mental wellbeing are central to a child’s future relationships, health, creativity, productivity, optimism, success and problem solving; and being able to find it in everyday activities is expressed delightfully in ‘A Search for Happiness’.
The interactive rhyming words and the illustrations in the book anticipate the introduction of ideas and conversations about happiness and wellbeing. It encourages turn-taking, not only listening and talking interactively but also encouraging responses to nonverbal cues, allowing your child to express themselves and their preferences, knowing they are being listened to and validated. The book also recognises that children love to choose for themselves, it challenges and empowers them, fostering self-expression and self-esteem.
Parenting is tough, sometimes feeling like one is in ‘crisis management’ rather than ‘project management’ mode. Spending time with your child to read a book such as ‘A Search for Happiness’ is indeed a forward plan that will reap rewards that last a lifetime, and is set to become a beloved classic in your child’s library.