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The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley XX Hardcover – September 30, 2007

4.0 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Part self-help book, part searing portrait of the modern man s psyche, and part funny mousies gamboling about with derby-laden Groucho Marx look-alikes, the book is like nothing you ve seen before..." --- A Fuse #8 Production

"...a humorous look at the human need for more and more, bigger and better...pure enjoyment." --- Margaret Dillner, University of Delaware Education Resource Center

"Brilliantly funny & wise...perfect for adults as well as kids! Clever, clever clever - both story and illustrations." --- Lucy K., Talking Leaves...Books

From the Publisher

This truly unique picture book presents Thompson and Lissiat's life lessons with gentle humor and satire.

Release Your Inner Riley!
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Kane/Miller Book Pub; 1St Edition edition (September 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933605502
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933605500
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 9.2 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #792,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on October 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The Aussies are different from you and I. They're not afraid of picture books that look like the love children of Robert Crumb and Monty Python. Take, as today's example, a little number going by the name of "The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley". The Children's Book Council of Australia named this title the Picture Book of the Year. This is true. And it might take some Yanks by surprise as it's a concoction that can only be given one word: unique. Part self-help book, part searing portrait of the modern man's psyche, and part funny mousies gamboling about with derby-laden Groucho Marx look-alikes, the book is like nothing you've seen before. Some will find it too preachy and some will find it too weird. I find it just right, and it's certainly the only book of its kind I've ever run into. Definitely not for everyone, this title, but a heckuva lot of fun.

Nothing bothers Riley. While other people in this world stress out and go crazy over youth, beauty, and the unattainable ideal, Riley's pretty content just where he is. While people want huge amounts of unhealthy foods, Riley's content with a moderate palate. While people buy the latest machines, technology, and stuff, Riley's happy with a sharp stick to scratch himself with. As the story goes on you see a small man in a bowler hat and his dog Bert trying to have it all. The fact of the matter is, though, that when all is said and done, happiness is easier when you have a lot less.

There will be an argument, justifiably, that this is not a picture book for children at all. The whole point of the book is that being happy means lowering your expectations but not your dreams. That's a pretty adult concept.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is rather dark in some respects, and takes a sort of dim view of humanity, but it's honest, clever, and gorgeous. If you or your kid dislike sappy, simplistic books, or if you have a sophisticated or older child, this could be good. I personally found the book quite moving and love it, but will save it till my kid is a bit older.
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I don't know how my 4-year old interprets this book (aside from the fact that she laughs), but I really like it that every time me or my husband read it to her, we get a reminder about the ridiculousnous of things we humans worry about in life. An important book!
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Format: Hardcover
I couldn't have asked for a better 50th birthday present!!

Since then I have given at least ten of my adult friends this book and all of them have gone on to give copies to their friends! It is a wonderful look at life, and how ridiculous humans can be at times.

This book always makes me laugh, but it also helps me to reflect on what is really important in life. I am now on the quest to release my "inner Riley".
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Format: Hardcover
This is a nice little story about being happy with what you have, taking life as it comes, and how material things don't provide self-satisfaction or happiness. Simple, straighforward and cute. Very engaging illustrations, too.
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Format: Hardcover
We (over)heard this story at a story time event and thought it was great so we bought it though we don't even have any young kids at home - only teens. However, we have managed to share it by reading it in a group whenever we have some kids visiting. Everyone, including the parents, always responds positively to this tale because it reminds us that humans are prone to forgetting how precious life is and our tendency to want more than we really need to be happy. I even took this book to the hospital and read it to my 73 year old mom. She appreciated the reminder! So - if you want an inspiring and simple to share tale that will remind you how silly human desire for consumption and bigger and better is, this is the story for you. Enjoy!!!
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Format: Hardcover
The Incredibly Short And Incredibly Happy Life Of Riley was the Children's Picture Book Council of Australia's Picture Book of the Year. It is the story of a happy, content, and well-adjusted rat named Riley. Riley is contrasted to humans who are far less content even though they have so much more than Riley. The pictures are not cute and cuddly. There are busty blonds and hairy bodies. Some illustrations are high on the gross-out scale. Looking at them I can almost smell the filth and slop depicted. This book really does look different than any kids book I've seen. It is a good message and many older readers may remember a friend who was a little like Riley. Karen Woodworth Roman, [...]
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This superb book is immediately loved by children and adults alike when read to them.The title summarises the story, but once opened the droll wit and comical illustrations are much appreciated. It needs to be back in print because it is so popular. I suggest it has a special message that has ecumenical faith appeal as well. Highly recommended.
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