Book Review: When I am happiest, by Rose Lagercrantz & Eva Eriksson

Available in bookstores nationwide from 1 August 2015.
It was my absolute pleasure to review My Heart is Laughing, the book that immediately precedes this one and although all three books that have been written featuring Dani are stand-alone, they make a fabulous series. They are beautifully written, warm, compassionate, filled with nuggets of wisdom and very real in outlook.

Life is humming along for young Dani, holidays are beckoning and then life with a nasty surprise intrudes and Dani, in her bewilderment and pain wonders if she will ever be happy again….

At the heart of this book is love and friendship and they power they wield in young lives. The book is filled with characters who are easily recognisable and as real as can be, the line drawings that illustrate this book add a very special illumination to the characters and to the various situations they are part of. It is a very rare illustrator who can capture emotion as Eva Eriksson does, but boy does she nail it.

The Dani stories are excellent beginner chapter books for children to self-read and as a shared reading experience, there is the occasional issue that would need adult input and explanation but the book provides the tools to facilitate this through the illustrations. I  think the relationships between the children and adults are particularly strong in this book and nothing has been lost in the translation, an adult reading to a child would get the Swedish humour in certain parts. Julia Marshall does an excellent translation.

Simply put, this is another first class book from author, illustrator, translator and the wonderful Gecko Press, children and adults alike will love it!

Reviewed by Marion Dreadon

When I am happiest
by Rose Lagercrantz & Eva Eriksson
Published by Gecko Press
ISBN 9781927271896

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