The Jar of Happiness by Ailsa Burrows

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The Jar of Happiness by Ailsa Burrows

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: Wonderfully sweet story with delightful pictures.
Buy? yes Borrow? yes
Pages: 32 Date: September 2015
Publisher: Child's Play (International) Ltd
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781846437281

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What would you do if you knew the recipe for happiness? I'm sure you could make a fortune, selling it by the jar, though it's questionable of course as to whether such profiteering from the sale of emotions would make you happy! Meg, the little girl in this story, makes up her own special blend of happiness in a jar, and she takes it everywhere, using it to cheer up her friends and family. But what will happen when Meg can't find the jar?

The first thing you need to know about this story is that there is a very cute cat in it. Now, I am not partial to cats (too much clawing for my liking) but this one looks so dopey and docile that it even manages to win me over. The second thing you need to know is that there are two really adorable sea gulls depicted in it too. I know, 'adorable' seems the wrong word for a seagull, especially if it's stealing your seaside chips, but these two are lovely. They're featured in the illustration showing us some of the things that Meg's jar of happiness smells like (warm biscuits and the seaside), and we're also told that it tastes of chocolate ice cream, apple juice and sunshine. This could be my jar of happiness, really, although I'd probably substitute chocolate ice cream with fresh lobster, and I'd merrily switch the biscuits out for some scones straight from the oven. Anyway, you can see how this book gets you thinking…!

Meg carries her jar around with her wherever she goes, and when she finds someone feeling a bit blue, she uses her jar to help cheer them up. She seems like a nice, positive little girl to have around. But one day she can't find her jar of happiness, and after a long search she is feeling very glum. Fortunately, one by one, the people who Meg helped feel happy help her in return, and soon she is smiling again and finding that her happiness can come from smiles and hugs and happy thoughts, and although she still can't find her jar, she can find her happiness.

I know, writing this down, it does sound rather twee, but it's actually so sweetly and gently done that it just feels like a lovely warm and fuzzy bedtime story. It's definitely one of those cuddle-up-close books, and you can have nice cosy chats about what things make you feel happy. The rather sleepy-eyed characters are charming, along with the dopey cat of course! I particularly liked Meg's appearance as she isn't one of those pretty princess types, but can be seen mooching about in dungaree shorts, or just jeans and a t-shirt, climbing trees and having a lot of fun!

This is a sweet story for toddlers, and a nice end to a busy day for the grown up reading it aloud.

Further reading suggestion: For more smile-inducing books try Smile! by Leigh Hodgkinson or No! by Marta Altes.

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Buy The Jar of Happiness by Ailsa Burrows at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Jar of Happiness by Ailsa Burrows at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Jar of Happiness by Ailsa Burrows at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Jar of Happiness by Ailsa Burrows at


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