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This is my Happy Place

By Emma Bowd & Jen Khatun

Reviewed by Sandhya Parappukkaran

Emma Bowd is adept at capturing joyful childhood moments in her delightful picture books. Her debut book, Wonderful Shoes, is an onomatopoeic tribute to the time kids spend playing with shoes and was a Notable in the 2022 Children’s Book Council of Australia, Book of the Year Awards Early Childhood category.
This is my Happy Place is Bowd’s third picture book. It is a celebration of all the happy places that hold a treasured spot in our hearts. Bowd starts the text by asking:
Do you have a special Happy Place,…
The narrative offers loads of wonderful settings to ponder upon: sand between your toes, licking cake mix off a spoon and dancing with your favourite crowd are just a few scenarios that will jolt readers’ minds to their own special memories. Bowd’s clever word choices provide an instant sensory connection, bringing each spread alive for the reader. My favourite is ‘cocooned’ in the bedtime snuggled up reading spread.
Jen Khatun’s bold artwork makes Bowd’s soothing text pop with playfulness and intimacy. I love the bright green colour of the cover; a colour which appears on almost every page and feels like a link between all the scenes. The bright scenes include one child enjoying an ice cream, two siblings (or friends) puzzle playing on a rainy day, cheerful times with classmates, gatherings with friends and family and many more. The happiness in Khatun’s scenes is palpable from the character’s faces and from the movement in the artwork where joy almost bounces from spread to spread.
This is my Happy Place is an uplifting picture book, sure to invoke nostalgia and big grins. While it is an invitation to reminisce and share your precious happy place memories, it will also inspire readers to always treasure those special moments however small they may be, because once those moments are cherished, they will become your forever happy place.
Affirm Press 2024
Sandhya Parappukkaran‘s latest book Stay for Dinner is one of the CBCA 2024 List of Notables: Picture Books
1942 Amsterdam Ave NY (212) 862-3680

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