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WHEN YOU ARE HAPPY by Eileen Spinelli Kirkus Star


by Eileen Spinelli & illustrated by Geraldo Valério

Pub Date: April 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-689-86251-2
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

A grinning girl with golden hair floats through the night sky on the star-spangled cover of this lyrical look at the power of a supportive family. The front matter includes a family tree that helpfully identifies the girl’s parents, siblings and both sets of grandparents. In the first-person narrative, each relative in turn offers some sort of imaginative help to the little girl as she experiences different childhood feelings and fears. The soothing words of each relative address a child’s deepest concerns, and “poems piled like pillows,” “a blanket from leftover sun.” The synergistic efforts of author and illustrator successfully incorporate elements of magical realism: People can fly, the moon can appear as a recurring character and a golden-haired girl can become Red Riding Hood, with the power to tame the wolf. Luminous illustrations in glowing, jeweled tones are filled with flowing lines that establish a dreamy quality, softening the lines between fantasy and reality. (Picture book. 3-6)