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4.21  ·  Rating details ·  539 ratings  ·  127 reviews
Clear, strong lines and radiant colors that seem to smile at the reader characterize Mies van Hout’s drawings.  In Happy, Mies shows all the emotions a young child encounters. Each double page spread is devoted to one fish, showing a particular emotion with its name in lettering that expresses the same feeling.  Swim into Happy where the dazzling fish sparkle against the d ...more
Hardcover, 1st U.S. ed., 52 pages
Published April 1st 2012 by Lemniscaat USA (first published 2011)
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4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  539 ratings  ·  127 reviews

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Jackie "the Librarian"
So cute!!! Expressive fish demonstrate a wide range of emotions, from HAPPY to ANGRY, from BORED to DELIGHTED.


The crayon drawings of the fish have huge kid appeal (and adult appeal, too).
This would be great to use in a storytime, or as writing prompts, or to spark art projects with kids.
That is talent!! I love it. The words were not always easy for me to read, but everything had a child-like flare while doing so well in simply illustrating emotions. Using fish! Brilliant. So glad a patron pointed this out to me. This could be made into an activity for young 'uns--whether at home or in a small ST group.

5/1/13 & 5/2/13: I thought I'd try this in the "Time for School" theme. Kids need to learn what emotions are. I brought down my definition to "feelings." At the beginning, you
Juf Yvon
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: boekenbingo-2016
Een prachtig boek van Mies van Hout waarin heel veel emoties langszwemmen. De vissen zijn echt heel mooi getekend en beelden heel goed de emotie uitdrukken. Ook een aanrader voor in de klas bij de kleuters. (1e boek voor boekenbingo 2016)
Jon(athan) Nakapalau
Pictures of brightly colored fish express different emotions...I loved the art!
Oct 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Happy is a beautiful picture book about emotions! Mies Van Hout has artistically rendered fish displaying different emotions using pastel illustrations. On one page, there is an emotion word, and on the other page, there is a fish expressing that emotion. Both the fish and the word attempt to convey this emotion. Color, technique, texture, and design all contribute in subtle or bold ways as well. The “Curious” fish, for example, is bright and yellow and gazes at something off the page, while the ...more
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Just when you think all the ideas in the world that mattered have already been, there comes a simple and profound book like this that lends itself truly to much happiness, delight, surprise, astonishment, and more! I would so love to use this book in a storytime - just-fer-the-heck-of-it; and also what a lovely book to share with children about feelings....and mindfulness...and recognising that feelings come and go....hmm...a very useful tool for Buddhists big and small!
Nov 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Irresistible. No plot, just a list. Not clear enough, I imagine, to help people on the Asperger's/ Autism spectrum much. Not every emotion is absolutely perfectly distinct. But gosh, I can't mark it down for stretch quibbles like those. It's absolutely delightful. I see it used in classrooms for art, story prompt, talk about feelings, etc... but I think I like it best for vocabulary. I'd tell the students: Write whatever story you want, but use juicy words like Astonished and Shocked!
Nov 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really like this book. My daughter was able to identify the right emotion to the fishes facial expression.
Anna Lina
ist nicht wirklich schummeln um meinen reading goal für dieses jahr zu erreichen, aber ist auch nicht nicht schummeln. das buch beinhaltet vielleicht 15 worte aber ist sehr sehr cool.
Beau Maton
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gelezen-in-2018
Mooi vormgegeven prentenboek en goed inzetbaar in het onderwijs. Kijk voor mijn volledige review op:
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Happy, by Mies van Hout, is a great book to build vocabulary about feelings. Colorful chalk drawings of emotional fish against a black background set the stage for discussion about words like jealous, nervous, content and confused. Giggles will erupt when children see the shocked and nervous fish. Kids will love an extension activity creating drawings of their own to portray feelings. For ages 3 - 10.
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Colorful illustrations of fish and an accompanying emotion - glad, angry, astonished, curious, etc. No story, just a word on one page and fish on the other page. Simple, colorful book for little ones.
Richie Partington
Jun 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Richie’s Picks: HAPPY by Mies van Hout, Lemniscaat USA, April 2012, 44p., ISBN: 978-1-9359-5414-9

“How does it feel?
How does it feel?
-- Bob Dylan, “Like a Rolling Stone”

It was such a beautiful morning, and I was SURE that I would be BORED sitting in the auto repair shop waiting room for a couple of hours while the car was being serviced. So I headed off on a hike around the area (which is a new area for me).

When, a couple of miles down the road, I stumbled upon the Midland Park Memorial Library,
May 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I picked this up for my 2yo daughter, but the simple bold-colored fish on a black background appealed to the whole family. The drawings have the appearance of colored chalks on a blackboard, the media itself of course children can relate to. Our lovers of sidewalk chalk here certainly were enthralled.

Each 2-page spread shows a colorful fish on one side and an emotion word on the other page, simple, clear, elegant. The 2yo loved the pictures, and we went over putting a word to the expression depi
Feb 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Happy lists twenty different emotions; such as curious, brave, and surprised, and each is depicted by an expressive fish. The stunning illustrations are what really stand out in this book; the bright, vibrant, hand-sketched pastel drawings really bring the emotions depicted alive for the reader. The fish are set against a black background, making their colors even more pronounced and powerful; while the hand-lettered emotions set against various colored backgrounds help depict the emotions as we ...more
Jul 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is an amusing book about various emotions. For each page there is only one word written. It might be "sad" or "jealous" or "confused." Then there is an illustration of a fish that totally fits the emotion. This is a brilliant way to show young readers just what different emotions are. Plus it is a fun, bright book with great illustrations of fish that are just right.

The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars was that I missed the "Happy" emotion. It was on the cover but I really thought it wo
Oct 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The classroom possibilities of this book are myriad...elementary and secondary...ELA, psychology, art, music...

I love books like word. One picture...that's the double-page spread. "Happy" fish is vibrant, colorful. Mouth curved in a huge smile and eyes focused straight ahead. What's the antonym of 'happy'? What would that look like? What color would it be? What music would represent both? If you were going to write a personification story of this word and this fish, what would happen?
Mar 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Lara by: Yoddy
Someone at work pointed this one out to me (thanks, Yoddy!) and I ended up reading it five times in a row. It's deceptively simple--each page has the word for an emotion on one side, and, on the other, a pastel drawing of a fish illustrating it. The drawings are really beautiful and convey the emotions wonderfully, and even the combination of words and backgrounds illustrate the emotions as well with color and font. It's just a really gorgeous book, and I can see it being a really great one for ...more
Alyssa Goh
Sure, it's a book meant for little kids and I am (legally) an adult, but I still loved it. There is nothing complicated about the concept or the art work, yet Mies van Hout manages to convey the emotions through her drawings succinctly through the simple use of colours and space. Flipping through the book always makes me smile.

So get the book and while you're at it, download the app as well. It doesn't matter if you have a little kid in your life or just want the book for yourself, I guarantee t
Lily Vivipem
There's something very magical about diving into this underwater world of colorful fish. These vibrant fish, with their relatable and beautifully illustrated expressions put a smile on my face, and the faces of the children who read it. What I love most about Today I Am is that it is a beginning, a gateway of sorts - for introspection and getting to know someone close to you. The simplicity of this book really belies its depth and potential for sparking conversations that are interesting and hig ...more
Kaylee Mercer
Oct 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Happy is such a cute picture book! As you flip through the pages, you see different types of fish displaying different emotions. These emotions include being shy, sad, happy, glad, confused, and content. These words are used in everyday life and can help children understand their feelings better. I like how the illustrations are brightly colored and like a child may have drawn them. I believe children will like this book and will relate well. This book can be used in the classroom to discuss dif ...more
Jun 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
There is no story in this book, but it is a great way to show emotion and learn how different emotions look on fish :). Fish show what happy, confused, shy, surprised,sad, proud, angry, content, and many more emotions all look like on fish faces. All of the illustrations are in bright colors on solid black blackgrounds.

With only one word on a page and a fantastic illustration showing the meaning, a great book to introduce adjective/emotion vocabulary to beginning level ELLs.

Karen A.
Mar 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Love the illustrations. Colorful and fun. Reminds me of an art exercise I used to do with kids. They would use lines to express different emotions. Mies Van Hout's fish are comprised of very emotional lines that exactly represent the desciptive word. My only thought is wouldn't it be more fun to try and make a story with all of these fish and feelings? Definitely more of a challenge. Still all ages should enjoy but, especially the under three crowd.
Apr 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: animals
Beautiful! Each emotion word is paired with a fish expressing that emotion. It would be wonderful for counselors and doctors. It could be a tool for teaching children what these complicated words mean. The drawings are wonderful and special attention should be paid to how the words are written. This author is saying much with that one word. This should be recommended for those dealing with a death or suffering from bullying, the fish will let them know that they are not alone!
Tess Neo
Jul 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love how the oil pastels contrast with the black background and makes everything stand out more. I'm an adult and I don't get bored of flipping through the pages of the book. It's oddly satisfying how much I enjoy this book, and I urge everyone to get a copy of this. It'll definitely be of help to parents who're teaching emotions to their kids for the first time and exploring emotions together.
It's funny that you'd think there'd be a book that talks about emotions in a very elementary level, like the ABC or 123 books for very young children. This book was the ABCs of emotion. Very young kids, 2-4 year olds enjoy it the most. They like to make expressions with the book. Definitely a staple for young parents!
Feb 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kid-preschool
These illustrations are unique and gorgeous to look at it. It's fun to engage my preschooler in a discussion about how the font is different for each feeling-word. Also, the book nicely reinforces familiar feeling-words (happy, angry) and introduces newer ones (content, astonished) to the younger child.
Amanda Walz
Jan 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I didn't know fish where able to have so many different expressions. This is a wonderful book about feelings.
Sep 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
reminded me of Andy Warhols "So many stars"
Ali Martini
Oct 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Fun illustrations, fish showing different emotions
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I grew up in a village in the south of Holland called Hapert. My father allways told us stories. When he was telling we were all sitting around him. I also liked reading, but most of the time I was drawing.
When I was very young I knew that I wanted to become a drawer. And I didn't know what to do otherwise.
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