A Bottle of Happiness
Pippa Goodheart and Ehsan Abdollahi
A Bottle of Happiness – now that’s something we could all do with from time to time; but how could it be caught and then put into a bottle? Well the first part’s easy: we can infect people with our own happiness; but bottling it? That’s altogether different. It is however the challenge young Pim is faced with in this neo fable when, accompanied by Tiddle, his dog, he crosses the mountain.
Now Pim and his people lived on one side of this mountain: they worked hard and shared what they had – stories in particular. On the opposite side lived the rich people who were traders, intent on getting richer: they didn’t give, they sold things to one another at a big market. Pim decides to go over that mountain in search of a new story and it’s there in the market place he finds himself looking at a basket of mouth-watering fruits. The seller of same doesn’t give things away though and so Pim, a perceptive and thoughtful lad, agrees to bring him happiness, the one thing his own people have more of, in exchange for some of the fruit.
Back he goes and collects song, laughter, music and love from his fellow villagers. With all this safely stored in a bottle, back he goes; what comes out when he removes the stopper however, is total silence – but not for long …
Now how could that be, and how does Pim manage to bring about an amazing transformation in the relationship between the sellers and the givers? That would be telling; and I think I may already have. For the rest you’ll need to get hold of a copy of this book and savour the delights of Ehsan Abdollahi’s intriguing peasant style patchwork illustrations.
This is a book that demonstrates that rather than being just for the vey young, picture books really are for all ages.
I asked some children what they would put in a bottle of happiness. Here are some responses:
‘A trampoline, a diving board, my brother, my family’ James 8
‘My family, a smiley face, a tennis court, a football pitch’ Daniel 7
‘Smiles, hugs, music, books, tortoises, love, flowers, art’ Rosa 7
‘Friendship, love, snow, sweets, beaches, Easter, sunshine, mice’ Nina 10
‘Love and respect’ Dolci 5
‘Mummy and Daddy’ Elena 3
‘Swimming with friends on holiday’ Gracie 7
Food for thought …