When I am Happiestby Rose Lagercrantz, ill. Eva Eriksson
Gecko Press NZ$20
This cheerful chapter novel for young readers is a sequel to My Happy Life (2012) and My Heart is Laughing (2014) both charming and funny stories about the irrepressible Dani and her best friend Ella. Dani has almost finished the school year, a period she thinks has been the happiest in her life. Suddenly Dani’s happiness is threatened when her father is hospitalised after a serious traffic accident. Her classmates are sympathetic and her grandparents are caring but Dani finds it difficult to accept that her father might never recover. Then several positive steps by those around her make it possible for Dani to once again “feel a rush of happiness inside.”
Eva Eriksson’s witty illustrations have the same feeling of reality as Rose Lagercrantz’s words. The Dani trilogy is both warm and realistic; this really is how young people feel and act. It is also how young people find the joy of reading well-crafted fiction.
Trevor Agnew (2015)
This review first appeared in The Press (Christchurch) on 11 July 2015