You Are My Happy

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
You Are My Happy Book Poster Image
Comforting rundown of things to be happy about, like you.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows animals playing -- and sleeping -- in their natural habitat. 

Positive Messages

"What made us happy all day through? Let's count those things, just me and you." Learning from mistakes can make you happy. Implied messages that it's good to be grateful, fun to play, comforting to be cuddled and loved.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The mama bear is loving and protective. The cub is gentle, playful, kind, curious.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that You Are My Happy is a picture book by Today show co-anchor Hoda Kotb (I've Loved You Since Forever). It shows a mama bear and her cub at bedtime, recalling the things that made them happy that day, the everyday things they did, saw, and accomplished -- all the things they're grateful for. In the end, the mama tells her cub "... the one I'm thankful for is you. / You are my happy."

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What's the story?

In YOU ARE MY HAPPY, a mama bear and her cub, before bedtime, list all the things they saw or did that day that made them happy. Most appear to be from the cub's point of view, like when the cub spots a sleeping raccoon and says, "For special friends who made me giggle / and silly songs that made me wiggle. ... That's what made me happy." At the end, it's clearly the mama bear talking: "For twinkling lights that say good night, / for nestling babies cuddled tight. Every night and all day through, / the one I'm thankful for is you. You are my happy."

Is it any good?

This cozy bedtime book features cute critters and clever rhymes showing gratitude for everyday wonders and accomplishments, with a big dollop of love between parent and child. You Are My Happy is sentimental but highlights a nice nightly ritual that author Hoda Kotb practices with her own kid (pictured in a photo on the back cover): asking little ones to recall all the things that made them happy that day. 

The "for" beginning each sentence in the list doesn't seem to match the "That's what made me happy" that punctuates each example. It would go better with naming what you're thankful for than with what made you happy, but Kotb doesn't use the "thankful for" phrase until the end. That probably won't bother most kids, who'll enjoy Suzie Masons' playful animal illustrations and images of mama and cub cuddling sweetly.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about all the things the bears are grateful for in You Are My Happy. What made you happy today? 

  • How are baby animals and their parents like human kids and their moms and dads? What ways do animals show love that look like ways humans show love? 

  • Which is your favorite picture in the book? Why do you like it the most? 

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love books about love and animal stories

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