Happy Sad by Pippa Goodhart, illustrated by Augusta Kirkwood – published by Little Door Books

Can you be happy and sad at the same time?

Fans of Bog Baby will love this absolutely gorgeous picture book, which explores the themes of friendship, love and letting go. I’m sure adults and children alike will identify with the bittersweet feeling of being ‘Happy Sad.

Pippa Goodhart’s soothing story flows like gentle waves and as you’ll see below, August Kirkwood’s stunning illustrations speak for themselves. See the fish shimmer and the mermaid’s emerald hair and irredescent scales shine in a striking colour palette of aquamarine, turquoise, purple and cobalt.

When Toby finds a mermaid stranded in a rock pool on the beach he takes her home and tries to cheer her up.

Toby tries songs, stories and a paddling pool full of bubbles, all the time asking:

‘are you happy now?’

And for a while Toby and the mermaid have fun. But…

…the more the mermaid sees the love Toby and his family have for each other the more she misses her own family and home.

Toby is really sad to see his friend go, but can he be happy for her at the same time?

We had a little talk in Reception class about when we have felt ‘happy sad.’ Here are a few of the children’s contributions:

“I’m happy coming back to school but sad that the holidays are over.”

“I’m happy our butterflies have hatched but sad we have to let them go.”

“I was happy on my birthday but sad when I had no presents left to open.”

“I’m happy we’re going to Year 1 soon but sad to leave Reception.”

Happy Sad is a particularly great choice for us at the moment as we have been observing minibeasts in class such as snails and butterflies but then had to release them back into their habitats. The children could really relate to Toby having to let his friend go, yet knowing she is living happily in her natural environment.

Happy Sad was published on the 6th June by Little Door Books.

Big shout out to Little Door! As an Early Years Leader and Reception teacher, Little Door Books are now a staple on my classroom bookshelves. Pinkie and Boo, The Girl Who Stole the Stars, Scaredy Bat, Snooze and One Button Benny are such well-loved stories and there’s more amazing titles to come. Keep an eye on my blog next month for another exciting release!

Keep following the Happy Sad blog tour for more fantastic content from the brilliant bloggers below. It’s been a pleasure taking part and having the opportunity to review this beautiful book.

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