ISBN: 9781592703517

Publication date: 30 Mar 2021

Author: Handy, Bruce

A New York Times Best Children’s Book of 2021

A Publishers Weekly High-Concept Picture Book for Children

A CCBC (Cooperative Children's Book Center) Choices Best Children’s Book, 2022

Is there any creature in the world happier than a dog with a ball in its mouth? Maybe a cat in the sun? Or a kid eating ice cream? This gentle book, with its soft and evocative colored pencil illustrations, is philosophical in its approach to the millions of forms that happiness can take, as well as the contrasting disappointments and sorrows that we encounter as we navigate our lives.

Starting from the happiness of waking up into a brand-new day, the book goes on to explore the kinds of relationships and contrasts that play out between our feelings and experiences. These contrasts play out beautifully across the page from left to right, and across a couple of long gatefold pages. Whether it's the nervousness of a beginning paired with the happiness of a middle; the indignity of a cut against the happiness of a scab; the boredom of nothing to do contrasted with the happiness of nothing to do; or the divide of mine against the happiness of our, these pages challenge the reader to think about daily activities and experiences and the feelings they conjure. They also lead us to think about the substance of our happiness, and what the ingredients of it might be. Written with subtlety and nuance and illustrated in pencil, pen and watercolor with great tenderness, The Happiness of a Dog with a Ball in its Mouth is a gentle, fun, and philosophical read, with which one can start and end the day.