Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

My Happy Life

My Happy Life

Rose Lagercrantz
Illustrator:  Eva Eriksson 
For ages 6 to 8
Gecko Press, 2013   ISBN: 978-1877579356

Dani is a naturally happy girl. It is true that she has experienced some sad times - for example when her mother died - but otherwise she feels pretty content with her lot in life. In fact she has so many happy times that she counts them instead of counting sheep when she can’t sleep at night. Now another happy time is on the horizon: school. Dani has “waited her whole life to start school” and she is very excited at the prospect of starting this new adventure.

The first day of school is a little strange and different, but Dani does start having a good time, just before it is time to go home. The next day at school, during first recess, she stands all by herself in the playground watching the others. At second recess she notices another girl who is all alone and Dani gets up the courage to ask the girl if she would like to play on the swings. The girl, Ella, agrees, and soon the girls are happily swinging back and forth.

Ella and Dani soon discover that they just love to spend time together. They love to have lunch together in school and partner up for games. They both love sunsets and sleepovers, and when they go to Ella’s house they both enjoy spending time with Ella’s hamster and Ella’s cute little baby sister. The girls become such good friends that Ella gives Dani a friendship necklace.

Then one day Ella starts to cry in class. The teacher explains that Ella and her family have to move away. Far away. Dani starts to cry as well and both girls are brokenhearted. When Ella actually leaves, Dani feels very alone and lost, and what makes it worse is that other things go wrong as well. First Dani cuts her knee. Then she hurts her head and has to go to the hospital to have stitches. She often cries because she isn’t “happy any more,” and her father gets so worried about her that he goes to talk to her teacher at school. For Dani, the loss of her best friend has made her whole life feel wrong.

In this sweet and beautifully written chapter book, the author helps children to see that life is never always happy or always sad. It is a mix of both, and ones fortunes go up and down. We just have to keep going through the hard times as best we can until the happy times return.

This is a title for children who are starting to read chapter books on their own. The text is accompanied by lots of charming pen and ink drawings, which offer readers a visual break on every spread.