quinta-feira, 26 de junho de 2014

Review: My Heart is Laughing by Rose Lagercrantz

My Heart is Laughing
by Rose Lagercrantz
Illustrations by Eva Eriksson
Format: Hardback / paperback / ebook
Nr of Pages: 120
Expected publication: September 8th 2014 by Gecko Press
Dani's been trying her best to stay happy ever since her best friend Ella moved away. But when some girls in Dani's class start being cruel to her, it starts a chain of rather unhappy events... 
It would all be okay if only Ella would move back.

Rating: 4/5

This book took me by surprise and I am still deciding how exactly should I start my review. If you have been following the blog for some time you probably have noticed that I love children's fiction. I truly believe that the simplest books are the hardest to write and if you can create something as delightful as Rose and Eva's My Heart is Laughing you should probably get an award.
Claudia picked this book for me out of the children's section and told me that I should read it because "it looked like my type of thing". As soon as I read the first lines and saw the cute picture that went with them I understood what she meant. This amazing little book starts with the fantastic affirmation that Dani is happy and goes on saying that she re-writes the endings of sad books so they can have happy endings as well.
Dani is a happy girl, she is practical, friendly and imaginative like all children. The thing that most astonished me about this book was how real Dani felt through out the story, it was easy to imagine that she could just pop out of the book and be a real child. We see her laugh and cry, we see her cross and forgiving, everything a child is and we see her doing it all in a day (which is something children also do). For me Dani and her friend Ella represent what most children really are and so it was ever so easy to love them and laugh at their adventure.
The adventures of our little heroine show true emotions that children will easily identify with. Approaching themes like bullying and friends moving away Dani shows us how she manage to go through them. I think this is important because it shows children that these problems are real while showing them how to address them. The way that Dani's father handled the bullying showed that it is ok to speak with your parents about it and that they will help you face it. Which is a fantastic message to get across to children.
Another thing to love about Dani is her positive view of life. From the first lines in the book where she says she is happy to the last ones where she says it again, Dani keeps her hopes up and although she faces bullying and gets cross manages to get over it and remain happy by deciding to do. Dani also states that she isn't always happy but that she is happy most of the time so she considers herself a happy person which is a very beautiful way to look at life.
As this book is part of a series, some of the first chapters seem a little scattered and I lost myself in the narrative. However as soon as I found out that there was another book in this series it all started to make sense, since I had started reading the series in the second volume the chapters were probably referring to information already displayed on the first volume.
Eva Eriksson's illustrations are lovely and I truly believed they enhanced the whole reading experience. Children will be delighted with the illustrations while parents read to them or when following Dani's adventures all by themselves. One specific illustration took me back to my own childhood when I read and saw the girls putting their dolls in recovery after surgery since I used to do the same!.
My Heart is Laughing stole my heart and I became a true fan of Dani and her adventures. I now have to go and get myself the first book in the series so I can have it on my shelves. This is a book I would recommend to children and parents alike.

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