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Oh, Were They Ever Happy! Paperback – April 1, 1988

17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When the Noonan children take over the painting of the house, the results are splendidly multi-hued; Spier accompanies a deadpan telling with imaginative pictures. Ages 2-8.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Doubleday Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (April 1, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385244770
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385244770
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 10.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,845,327 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 15, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful story of three obedient, well-meaning children who help out at home while their parents are away. No shenanigans, these children put their heart into their work. If you can remember your own young children making a cake from scratch while you were away, then perhaps you can imagine the plot. Two parents leave for the day. As they leave, the mother, Mrs. Noonan, reminds her husband that the house needs painting. This is an "uh, oh" kind of book which requires a gasp at each turn of the page. Our children have read it over and over. I am sorely disappointed that this book is no longer in print.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By audrey TOP 500 REVIEWER on August 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First published in 1978, Peter Spier's story of the well-meaning Noonan children stands up well even after 25 years. The story of the three children who overhear their parents talking about the house needing painting and decide to surprise them will have you and your children turning the pages with bated breath as you wait to see what that house looks like! It's worth the wait -- a laugh-and-a-half for kids and their adults. As you'd expect, the illustrations are colorful and fun. This would be a great companion book with Daniel Pinkwater's 'The Big Orange Splot'.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
I am 12 years old and have loved this book since I recieved it many years ago. A few years ago I came across it and was so sad to see half of the pages had fallen out and were lost. All I can say is I love this book!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
My copy is tattered and torn and all forlorn but it is still a hit in first grade. We use it as a jumping off point for creative writing...sometimes I copy the text and the children illustrate; sometimes I copy the pictures and we write our own text. We love it! This particular book has set more readers on fire than I can count.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. M. Tracey on March 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I love this book! I remember borrowing it from the library over and over when I was young! My siblings and I couldn't get enough of it! Now that I have my own little readers, I wanted to share one of my favorite books with them. Such a shame it is out of print! A true classic - great story!! I ended up purchasing it used because I loved it so much! I wish it was more readily available to the masses - my children enjoy the story so much - it is so sweetly nostalgic to read it to them!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Daniel R. Grangaard on January 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
You will never tire of reading this delightful book over and over to your children and grandchildren. A superb illustrator and creative writer, Peter Spier will captivate young and old readers with his innocent humor. After this, read Bored and Nothing to Do, and then read every book he has published including Rain which conveys its message strictly through illustrations. I rank Peter Spier at the top of my list of favorite illustrators and authors of children's books.
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Format: Paperback
This story brings us another episode in the Noonan family, who also appear in Spier's later books Christmas and Rain. Before their parents leave the children at home to run errands for the day, Mrs. Noonan remarks to her husband that the house needs painting. When the babysitter never arrives, the three children decide to surprise their parents by painting the house themselves. Opportunistically gathering up a large collection of half-filled paint cans from the garage, they set to work painting the house, top to bottom, chimney and doorknobs, in a variegated rainbow of colors. The well-meaning mayhem that ensues is profoundly destructive, and the children innocent congratulate themselves for a job well done, gleefully anticipating how happy their parents will be to see their handiwork.

The fantastical scale of the children's efforts saves the book from being painful to read, and adults will laugh along with younger readers at the ridiculously costly mistake. While the youngest readers will need help understanding that the children were being foolish, even young readers will appreciate the irony in the closing scene, in which the children eagerly await their parents' arrival. We don't see the parents' reaction, we just see the rainbow-colored house with the phrase: "Oh, were they ever happy!"

This book is unfortunately out of print, but is available in public libraries and on the used book market.
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By C on December 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In Oh, Were They Ever Happy!, children decide to help their parents by painting the house while they are at home alone. My mom read me this story when I was a little girl and I loved it so much. When the kids were "cleaning up" in the bathroom, I remember being horrified by their mess! This book has stayed with me for many years and is a favorite! Although it doesn't have a lot of text, children will enjoy looking at the beautiful illustrations and following the increasing disaster.
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