The Happy Shop
The Happy Shop, by Brittany Long Olsen, has a fable-like feel that I appreciated.
Darcy has just moved to a new country because of her mother’s job. (It’s not stated, but given the pound price tags and complaints about fog, I assumed it was England.) She’s lonely and grumpy when she stumbles into the Happy Shop, stocked with a whole bunch of jars full of glowing dots.
Sisters Flora and Frida sell happy feelings. Darcy accidentally breaks some of the jars, so she agrees to work at the shop, tidying up, to make up their value.
The art style is deceptively simple. The basic lines and faces reminded me of Crockett Johnson’s Harold (of purple crayon fame). Yet the characters’ feelings are understandable.
Frida’s always worried about the future of the shop, as business has slowed over the years, while Flora works on collecting happy feelings to restock. Darcy winds up helping them find a new way to help others share and manage their emotions.
I loved the examples written on the jars and talked about by the characters. The Happy Shop is a great reminder of how valuable our feelings and memories can be, even the non-happy ones, and how many caring people make up a community. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)