Cover image of How to Make a Heron Happy

How to Make a Heron Happy

Lari Don; Illustrated by Nicola O'Byrne

You can buy this book now, online or in your favourite bookshop.


The heron in Hamish's local park always looks sad and grumpy so he decides to cheer it up. Hamish brings food, plants flowers and tidies the heron's pond, but it still looks grumpy. Maybe the heron isn't unhappy after all?

Have fun with How to Make a Heron Happy

Image link to How to Make a Heron Happy JokesImage link to Colour in Heron from How to Make a Heron Happy

Information for grown-ups

Hamish is worried about the heron in the park. It always looks sad and grumpy, with its hunched-up shoulders and long frowning eyebrows. So Hamish decides to cheer it up: first he brings bread crusts and biscuit crumbs to the park. But the heron still looks grumpy. Next he brings his family to tidy up the heron's polluted pond. But the heron still looks grumpy.

Then he brings his class to plant flowers around the pond. But the heron still looks grumpy. Finally he brings everyone he knows to have a party for the heron. But the heron still looks grumpy. Hamish looks at the heron and wonders: maybe the heron isn't unhappy after all?

Each page of this delightful story from popular children's author and storyteller, Lari Don, is brought to life with vibrant illustrations. Colour and activity build up as the book progresses and the drab inner-city park is brought to life.

'I'd recommend this as a shared read - or perhaps for new readers (an often overlooked picture book audience, I think). The text and illustrations focus rather nicely on things to do in a park and how to improve your local area, and are brilliant as a focus for discussion I'd definitely recommend this, whether as a family read or for a primary classroom.'
-- Thoughts from the Heartfire blog

'I liked that as you got further into the book, more was happening in the park, which is initially desolate and unused, so I found two positive messages; the second is Hamish's conclusion about the heron. A great story about a park!'
-- Juno Magazine, March 2011

'With only a line or two of text on the page and plenty of repetition, this is ideal for beginning readers. O'Byrne's illustrations have the look of pen-and-ink sketches with watercolor. Ranging from vignettes to double-page spreads, they both support and add to the narrative, showing the heron in a variety of poses and the park gradually becoming more beautiful and more populated.
As read-aloud or read-alone, a nice addition to the caring-for-our environment collection.'
-- Kirkus Reviews

'A feel-good story from an Edinburgh-based author The illustrations are stunning, colourful, informal with a watercolour effect. There is much use of green colouring for the park. Perhaps the use of this colour could be used to emphasise to our young readers the importance of green open spaces, parks, pond birds and flowers. Parks are very pleasant places to be! This is also a great book for reading aloud, which would also encourage imagination and discussion.'
-- The School Librarian

Format: paperback
Number of pages: 24
Size: 254 x 210 mm
ISBN: 9780863158049
Illustrations: colour illustrations
Age suitability: From 3 to 6 years
Publication date: 07 Apr 2011

Not sure if this book is suitable for your child? View some sample pages (click on the link icon at the top right of this page) to see the amount of text on each page, the level of the language and the style of the illustrations.