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The Lost Happy Endings Paperback – 7 Jul 2008
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'A powerful book for older readers' TES 'A marriage made in picture book heaven - Duffy's lyrical prose matched with Jane Ray's rich, magical illustrations' Financial Times 'This evocative story has particularly beautiful illustrations' Daily Mail
About the Author
Carol Ann Duffy lives in Manchester and is a renowned poet and winner of the Whitbread Award and T.S. Eliot Award. She has published several collections of poetry for children and this is her first full-length colour picture book. Jane Ray lives in London (N10) and is equally respected as an illustrator. Her books are received with great acclaim and she has been shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal as well as won the Smarties Award and Mother Goose Award. This is Jane's second book for Bloomsbury.
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Top customer reviews
Books such as these are designed to make the reader (including young children) think. (Why IS that bit written in a different font, for example?) No doubt the people who have such negative thoughts about this are the same sort who won't read "Not Now, Bernard" because it "is about a little boy who is eaten by a monster". If the parents can't or won't think, what chance do the children have?
Some reviewers recommend this for older children because it might be a bit scary at points I suppose. What I can say is that our 4 years old loves it, reads at bedtime and has never complained about it. It comes out time after time.
Thoroughly recommend it!
Carol Ann Duffy's book is an outstanding masterpiece with beautiful illustrations and packed with powerful similes. This is the story of a six-fingered magical girl, who is the guardian of all the happy endings. Unfortunately, the happy endings are stolen by a haggard, demonic witch. After this every child in the land experiences nightmares and begins to wet the bed!!! In our opinion, this book is suitable for ages 7+.
By The Detectives
St Mary's C of E Primary School
Spoilers ahead if that matters.
The good points:
The main character is a 6-fingered girl who lives in a tree and whose job it is is to release all of the happy endings for children's bedtime stories into the night so that the children can sleep peacefully. One night a witch robs her of her bag of happy endings, which leads to all the traditional fairy tales ending horribly and children having nightmares. The main character dreams of finding a magic golden pen that can write on the sky and when she wakes up the pen is there.
All of this is brilliant, magical and imaginative and wondrous, what's really poor is what she chooses to do with it.
With a magic pen whose stories come true, she decides to write that the witch burns to death trying to light a fire and that the smell of her burning to death leads the main character to the bag of happy endings. She has a magic pen whose stories apparently come true, and that's the best solution she can come up with? Seems to teach children to be petty and vengeful in my opinion. She could have spent the night writing her own endings to the bedtime stories, she could write that when the witch finds out what she's stolen she becomes repentant, she could do anything! All the details of what makes the witch a witch are things that the main character writes into reality herself! The witch could have been a proper villain who's grand plan is foiled instead of just a bully who dies for pushing someone over.
I still see some value in this book, but only if, after the main character puts the magic pen to the sky and starts to write, instead of reading on with the rest of the book you turn to your child and ask them what does she write. Ignore what's written in the book after that. (this unfortunately means you also have to ignore the illustrations, I'd suggest replacing them with cards from Dixit or something if you or your child need inspiration for how to finish the story).
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Daisy Maughan aged 10 and a half