Hugo the Starfish is happy with his life until one day he realizes he is sad. With his sadness comes the realization that he needs to do something to be happy again. He decides to go explore the ocean to find happiness. In the beginning of his tale, he thinks that happiness is an object that he must find. His friend Manta gives him several ideas of how to obtain happiness. Each time Hugo visits Mantra, he tells him that he wants to be happy for a longer and longer duration. The duration he gives each time is always given in both English and Spanish in order to help kids learn a little bit of Spanish at a time.
This story lead kids on a journey to understanding that you can't find happiness in the things you have. Yes, they can make you happy for a time, maybe even a long time, but eventually they will lose their luster. You eventually go looking for happiness elsewhere. In the end, Hugo learns that the only way for him to be happy forever is by helping other people and giving of himself to everyone. Making other people happy is the best way to be happy yourself. Personally, I think the lesson is told beautifully. A lot of stories try to character education in ways that don't really get the point across. This one demonstrates how the objects didn't make Hugo happy without actually saying right away "Things won't keep you happy forever," a statement that kids just don't understand.
The first copy of the book I received was a production mistake. It had binding issues which caused pages to fall out. I have since been contacted by the author who has graciously decided to send me a new copy of the book. I am sending my broken book back to her so that she can contact the manufacturer. She has been very kind in handling this situation and I am certain that this is a one in a million mistake that is not at all her fault.
Read more reviews at Identity Discovery Blog.