What is more important, material wealth and abundance or happiness? Can you put happiness in a bottle? What happens when we share what we have? These are some of the questions this stylish picture book poses.
Pim lives on one side of a mountain where people are poor but happy. They enjoy spending time together sharing stories, dancing and laughing. On the other side of the mountain people are much richer but are they happy? One day Pim goes over the mountain in search of new stories, amazed at the plenty there he longs to taste the fruits in the market. The stall holder wants something in exchange, what can Pim offer? The only thing he can offer is happiness. He goes back over the mountain and attempts to fill a bottle with laughter, music and love. Will it work? At first it doesn’t appear to do so but gradually the mood changes and everyone is laughing and dancing.
This is a simple fable about friendship, happiness and sharing which celebrates stories and storytelling. The illustrations are particularly striking and highly decorative with rich patterning inspired by Middle Eastern fabrics and a patchwork design with echoes of cubism. Colour is used effectively to contrast the warmth of the happiness on the poor side of the mountain with the drab greyness of the richer peoples on the other side.
A Bottle of Happiness is part of a planned series of collaborations between writers and illustrators from Iran and the UK from Tiny Owl; a project which aims to create new books which reflect different cultural perspectives and encourage an intercultural dialogue and understanding.