How to Make a Heron Happy

By Lari Don, Nicola O'Byrne (Illus)


The heron in Hamish's park always looks sad and grumpy. Hamish tries lots of ways to cheer it up: will the heron ever be happy? Colour and activity build up as the book progresses and the drab inner-city park is brought to life.

Year of Publication


'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

Author Biography

Lari Don has worked in politics and broadcasting, but is now a full-time writer and storyteller. She grew up in the north-east of Scotland, and lives in Edinburgh. She is the author of two other picture books for young children,The Big Bottom Hunt and Orange Juice Peas as well as novels for older children including First Aid for Fairies and Other Fabled Beasts; Wolf Notes and Other Musical Mishaps; Storm Singing and Other Tangled Tasks; Maze Running and other Magical Missions; and Rocking Horse War (all Floris Books).

Nicola O'Byrne was born in Swaziland and has lived in Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Kenya and Edinburgh. She studied illustration at Edinburgh College of Art and is now in London working towards a Masters in printmaking. She bases her illustrations on real observations and can usually be found in a bookstore or a coffee shop drawing the people around her. Through her research for this book she can confirm that herons always look grumpy!