That’s a tricky task, of course, and Happy Ever After favors an upbeat simplicity over the challenges and complexities of an ongoing real-world crisis that has killed millions, a crisis the book’s title suggests has ended. Though it espouses a teamwork moral, there’s little teamwork involved in ending the pandemic in the book, as characters simply sprinkle the magical unicorn dust all over and wake up the next day to a pandemic-free city. If only it were that easy—parents should not expect guidance on addressing ongoing issues like seasonal outbreaks or further preventative measures. Discussion questions found at the end of the book likewise don’t address the complex topics that might confuse or upset kids.
Best suited to introducing the basic concepts of outbreaks, or to starting a deeper conversation, Happy Every After offers Andrew M.’s striking, inviting illustrations of a locked-down city, deserted beaches, and the animal helpers who work to set things right. Pages depicting seagulls taking wing to disperse the cure are charming and inspired, and exultant children returning to the beach is a heartening sight, as are the fun coloring-book pages included in the end matter.
Takeaway: Magical thinking ends a pandemic in this upbeat animal tale.
Great for fans of: Kitty O’Meara’s And the People Stayed Home, Tomos Roberts The Great Realisation.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: B
"Meaningful detailed imagery which connects perfectly to the story..."
A welcome addition to the many writings of Dr Marlene MD, ‘Happy Ever After- A Pandemic Tale’ presents an engaging reading experience for children with an intriguing setting that accessibly communicates the reality of the pandemic in a non-threatening understandable way for young children.
Through her two endearing protagonists, Timmy Turtle and Speedy Seagull, who-both affected by the pandemic but in different ways struggle to cope with its reality, Dr Marlene provides young ones and their carers with an opportunity to explore their own feelings in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, along with an understanding of its wide-reaching effects.
With her exceptional ability to present complicated concepts simply, she uses an extended metaphor, already familiar from a previous story, in the form of rainbow unicorns and their quest to locate magic dust to cure the pandemic.
Whilst waiting, Speedy Seagull loses his usual ‘zoom superpower’ from contracting the virus, and Timmy Turtle becomes sad and lonely. However, with a little magical unicorn dust and a great deal of cooperation, the pandemic is conquered and normal life resumes, complete with French fries for the hungry seagulls.
Illustrated to reflect the emotion of each character and draw you into their world beautifully, ‘Happy Ever After- A Pandemic Tale’ supports the development of reading comprehension through meaningful detailed imagery which connects perfectly to the story.
Dr Marlene’s quest to bring medical knowledge, healthy living and mindfulness to her audience is supported excellently by this new offering, which encourages engagement with reading by presenting information in a fun and interesting way. Rich varied language with elements of challenge support the storyline but are presented in a relatable form, thus creating a positive reading experience that is developmentally appropriate.
Dr Marlene completes her educational book with hands-on activities such as coloring pages and ‘Happy Talking Points’ which provide the perfect plenary for learning.
A great pedagogic book with a practical and reassuring message, ‘Happy Ever After- A Pandemic Tale’ is highly recommended.
The Broward County Library System, Broward County, Florida now has available to check out the book, Happy Ever After A Pandemic Tale.
Additional coloring pages are available on the author's website at drmarlenemd.com
The Broward County Library System, Broward County, Florida now has available to check out the book, Happy Ever After A Pandemic Tale. Additional coloring pages are available on the author's website at drmarlenemd.com