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So Happy! Hardcover – February 15, 2005


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books; First Edition edition (February 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060564830
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060564834
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 8.5 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,195,155 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 1–Original and fresh, Henkes's latest surprise is a collaboration with Lobel, who provides watercolor and gouache illustrations in a style reminiscent of Van Gogh. Set in the Southwest, this circular story about a seed, a rabbit, and a boy is reinforced by the rounded forms in the artist's highly textured scenes. The moon, the sun, the glow enveloping the seed and the child, the frenetic lines of motion surrounding the rabbit and the arc of the rainbow all serve to reinforce the cycles of life that are the subject of this drama. The just-planted seed doesn't grow, the rabbit (who has hopped over the narrow part of a creek) is lost, and the boy is bored–until it rains. Catalyst for all that follows, the storm swells the river; thus, the rabbit is prevented from retracing his steps, the boy is inspired to build a bridge from sticks, the hibiscus is nourished, and the rabbit has a way to return home. The minimal text is paired with one-page scenes, full spreads, and triple panels as dictated by the pace of the plot. In the end, the seed planted by the mother becomes a present from her son; the family portrait depicts the woman finding a spot for the bloom and father and child preparing to read a book on bridges. A satisfying look at the interplay of nature, time, and love.–Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 1-3. Three components--a "magic" amaryllis seed, a lost rabbit, and a restless boy--intertwine in this powerful collaboration between two acclaimed author-illustrators. Henkes contributes text stripped gracefully to essentials: "There was no rain, so the seed didn't grow"; the little rabbit, exploring, "wandered and wandered until it didn't know where it was"; and the boy could "think of nothing to do, so he did just that." Then "the rain came." The drenching water strands the rabbit on the wrong side of a storm-swollen creek, nourishes the seed that blooms into a bright gift for the boy's mother, and inspires the boy to construct a bridge that carries bunny home. Lobel's vigorous artwork, a riot of color that pays homage to Van Gogh, locates events in a sun-toasted, south-of-the-border landscape, and captures the rhythm of Henkes' splitting, braided narratives in triptychs alternating with cohesive scenes. For readers slightly older than those targeted by Henkes' Kitten's First Full Moon [BKL F 15 04] or Lobel's One Lighthouse, One Moon (2000), this deceptively simple drama imparts a reassuring sense that, at least sometimes, the seemingly disparate incidents of life incline toward universally beneficial, "so happy" convergence. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Kevin Henkes is the author and illustrator of close to fifty critically acclaimed and award-winning picture books, beginning readers, and novels. He received the Caldecott Medal for Kitten's First Full Moon in 2005. Kevin Henkes is also the creator of a number of picture books featuring his mouse characters, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Lilly's Big Day and Wemberly Worried, the Caldecott Honor Book Owen, and the beloved Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse. His most recent mouse character, Penny, was introduced in Penny and Her Song (2012); her story continued in Penny and Her Doll and Penny and Her Marble (a Geisel Honor Book). Bruce Handy, in a New York Times Book Review piece about A Good Day, wrote, "It should be said: Kevin Henkes is a genius." Kevin Henkes received two Newbery Honors for novels--one for his newest novel for young readers, The Year of Billy Miller, and the other for Olive's Ocean. Also among his fiction for older readers are the novels Junonia, Bird Lake Moon, The Birthday Room, and Sun & Spoon. He lives with his family in Madison, Wisconsin. You can visit him online at www.kevinhenkes.com.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Anne B. Levy on February 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The prose is so simple, it's stark:

The seed is thirsty

The rabbit is lost

The boy is bored.

Three separate stories unspool on the same pages, seemingly unlinked until the end: The boy busies himself and in the process saves the rabbit and finds a magic flower grown from the seed.

In a press release, Henkes said he kept the lines spare to allow Lobel room to breath. It was Lobel who decided to set the story in the parched southwest with a Mexican family, invent a father whose departure creates the boy's sour mood, and visually weave the three threads into a unified whole.

She uses watercolors in a warm Mexican palette and deep earth tones to conjure up the boy's narrow world: his house, a sudden storm, an engorged creek and the rabbit's frantic scrambling in the brush.

For adults, this is a lesson on how an author let go of his work so an artist could transform it in unexpected ways. For kids, it's a fun romp about a rainy day.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on April 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Written in a throughly engaging prose poem style by Newbery Honor Book author Kevin Henkes, and strikingly illustrated by Anita Lobel, So Happy! is the picturebook story of a boy, a rabbit, a magic seed, and a book (which the reader is holding in his hands). The seed grows into a beautiful flower, the boy wanders looking for something to do, and the curious rabbit explores until he is lost... but happiness awaits at the end of a long day, when the rabbit comes home to sleep cozily, and the boy finds the flower that the seed became - it's the perfect gift for his mother! A warm-hearted picturebook intended for ages 2 and up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By laurie on September 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love Kevin Henkes books but had never seen this one. I read this story to my 3rd graders without showing them the pictures. I then asked them to draw the "picture in their mind" in their sketch journal. We reread the book with the pictures. The next day the children painted, using watercolor, a picture of what makes them truely happy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Maliha on June 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
So Happy! is a collaboration between Newberry Honor and Caldecott Honor recipient, Kevin Henkes and famous writer and artist Anita Lobel, who has been a finalist for the National Book Award. It is a story set, presumably somewhere south of the border, judging from the rich, lush colors of the artwork. Henkes introduces us to, what seems like, three strands of disconnected narratives - one about a magic seed which can't grow due to the lack of rain, the second about a rabbit who gets lost while wandering by a narrow creek, and the third about a boy who wants to do something but can think of nothing.

The story, therefore seems to be at a standstill. But things change when it rains and the creek gets wider, preventing the rabbit from crossing it and the boy gets an idea. As the sun shines, the seed becomes a plant and the boy gathers sticks to make a bridge. Soon a rainbow appears and the bridge is complete, allowing the rabbit to cross the creek and go home to its family. The flower becomes ready to be given as a gift to the boy's mother and the story ends with the indication that the cycle of life, subtle as it may be at times, will continue.

The way the three stories come together shows how things that seem to share nothing in common can unify under a common cause. Can life be interpreted as a series of coincidences? This serendipitous story seems to say so. If the story doesn't appeal to you as much, the artwork, reminiscent of Van Gogh's style, certainly will.
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By jacovny on March 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This surprising uninspired submission by Henkes reads like an outline of a story to come rather than a completed work. There's a mysterious magical seed with ambiguous properties -- apparently it grows to maturity instantaneously upon contact with water. A dull boy builds a bridge for a boring rabbit. There's no drama, no discovery, no reason to care about either character. The overly simplistic writing is devoid of characterization -- and of fun. Henkes has always been hit-or-miss. This one's the latter.
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