Friends Happy and Sad
Hans Kuyper and Alice Hoogstad combined forces to create this lavish rhyming picture book, with emotions that simply leap off the pages. The fun starts on the endpapers, where Hoogstad portrays a colourful parade of creatures: the lonely elephant with his sadly drooping trunk, the cheerful frogs playing leapfrog (what else?) and the happy bear cheering and waving his clumsy paws in the air.
All of these animals reappear in the book’s five-line verses, which tell a story of loneliness and new friends. Every poem focuses on a different emotion, which Hoogstad depicts with a vibrant palette and chunks of colour. When the animals kick their ball into Bull’s flower garden, he comes charging after them, all red and angry. There’s a moment of tension as the reader fears that the culprits aren’t going to escape, but this cheerful animal story never becomes really scary – even the angry bull ends up partying among a happy crowd of animals, with a nice grin on his big bovine face. Hoogstad has chosen her colours with care: sad mice seek to comfort one another in a muted green forest and Elephant and Donkey shyly celebrate their new love under a bright pink sun, the illustrations enhancing the poems beautifully.