Happy by Mies Van Hout
Dutch publisher Lemniscaat is now publishing some of their picture books in English translations, distributed worldwide by Thames & Hudson. One of the happy results is this book in which a variety of feelings are humorously portrayed by the way a range of fish are drawn and echoed by the way the words naming the emotions are written. A wide-eyed angelfish is suitably surprised in letters picked out in different styles and colours. A droopy-eyed blue fish is sad in letters smudged perhaps by salty sea water or tears. Mixed media have been used for the expressive illustrations with the fish being outlined on black backgrounds using colours etched to present the effect of chalk on a board. This book demonstrates how words and pictures can reflect each other, drawing out extended meanings from a deceptively simple concept. It could provide a great model for children’s own bookmaking, suggesting ideas for drawing, writing and talk.