Happy by Mies Van Hout

Images and text by Carter.

You’d think I’d know better by now, but it still puzzles me when a picture book so spare evokes such a strong reaction in me! Happy, by Mies Van Hout is evocative and simple and spectacular all at once. Each spread reveals an emotion – furious, proud, content – and a fish that illustrates it. The shocked fish is spiky and his one eyeball wide open. The sure fish points his snout towards the upper corner, like he’s ready to swim off the page.

Both the pictures and the text have a scribbled feel – it’s childlike and charming. The bold, graphic quality yields some surprisingly hilarious results. Perhaps I’m especially drawn to it because these emotions reach farther than standard concept book fare? I’m still not entirely sure what it is, but I am definitely dazzled by these pages!

Happy by Mies Van HoutHappy by Mies Van Hout