The Happiest Man in the World or the Mouse Who Made Christmas by Mij Kelly and Louise Nisbet
|The Happiest Man in the World or the Mouse Who Made Christmas by Mij Kelly and Louise Nisbet|
|Genre: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath|
|Summary: A wonderfully sweet Christmas tale, as selfish Mouse eventually warms the cockles of sad Santa's heart. Louise Nisbet's illustrations are particularly charming. Recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 32||Date: October 2009|
|Publisher: Hodder Children's Books|
Mouse doesn't like anyone and keeps herself to herself. Her things are her things and she is too selfish to share them with anyone else. One day, an old man moves in to Mouse's house. He used to be the happiest man in the world, but now he's sad. He's fed up of having given, given, given all his life and never got anything back. He just sits quietly and mopes. This makes Mouse miserable, so one day she decides to cheer him up by giving him a clementine...
The Happiest Man in the World is a delightful picture book to read at Christmas - the man is Santa, in case you haven't guessed. It's a heart-warming tale about the power of sharing, friendship and love. In lesser hands, it could easily be ham-fisted, but even a bitter old cynic like me felt a lovely glow as Mouse starts to see things from another person's point of view, and sets about making them feel better.
There's a little more text than in the usual picture book, making it ideal to read with children on the cusp of being able to read for themselves, but the vocabulary and storyline are clear enough that younger book fans will enjoy it too. Kids'll need to know all about Santa to get the full benefit of seeing another side of him, but even leaving that aside, it's a lovely story that any child will enjoy.
Louise Nisbet's illustrations have a gorgeous painted style, which fills the book with a traditional Christmas atmosphere. Santa sleeps with a candle by his bed, Mouse wanders the streets looking in toy shops with wooden trains and teddy bears, and oh... the deli. The deli! Those shelves, with plum puddings, preserves, sweets and biscuits. It looks so amazing, you can almost smell it, and the thought of gorging on all that food just makes me salivate. There's a timeless quality to the pictures which could well make The Happiest Man in the World the sort of book you read every Christmas. Recommended.
My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.
The First Christmas by Jan Pienkowski is another Christmas book with stunning illustrations. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr Seuss is a classic that you simply have to read again and again. Bear's First Christmas by Robert Kinerk and Jim LaMarche is delightful.
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