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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Happiness is a Watermelon on Your Head
by Stella Dreis
Age Range: Under_5
Why is Miss Jolly so ridiculously happy? Together with her flying pet boar Marvin she exudes a cheerfulness that is extremely irritating to her miserable neighbours Miss Whimper, Miss Grouch and Miss Stern, who become desperate to find out the secret of her happiness.
“It’s awful being miserable day after day,
Let’s find out her secret, there must be a way!”
All sorts of things abound in this completely wacky picture book where everything is just a little bit mad. As Miss Whimper, Miss Grouch and Miss Stern go on a quest to find the secret of happiness they create cauliflower hats, fish bonnets and hats from all manner of strange objects, but nothing seems to do the trick. Until, that is, a whole lot of pink and rather messy watermelons!
This is a simply gorgeous picture book by Bulgarian author and illustrator Stella Dreis. The illustrations are a riot of colour with larger-than-life characters that are completely eccentric and fill up every page. The differing font sizes and italic in the text is a perfect accompaniment to the stunning artwork but it also helps to emphasise the brilliant rhyming verse making it a perfect book to read aloud.
First published in Brazil and expertly translated and rewritten in verse by Daniel Hahn, this is a gem of a book. With too few poetry titles being translated into English from other countries this is a welcome addition that is destined to become a firm favourite with both children and adults.
Happiness is a Watermelon on Your Head has a multi-national heritage that combines distinctive Eastern Europe stylistic influences with all the carnival colours of Brazil. Stella Dreis is Bulgarian born but lives in Germany. The book was first published in Brazil, (not in Germany although they are the world’s largest importer of watermelons!) and has been translated from the Portuguese.