Bowls of Happiness

“Bowls of Happiness” (by Brian Tse and Alice Mak, and translated by Ben Wang) is wonderful little book that entertains with its whimsical art and story, and it also teaches about ancient Chinese bowls. The book is part of a series which aims to introduce children to Chinese culture at an early age. The publisher recommends “Bowls of Happiness” for children aged 4 and older.

First we read a story about a mother and her daughter she affectionately calls “Piggy”. Piggy’s mom decides to create a special bowl just for her, and as she works on it Piggy enters the world being painted on the bowl. Through the story we see classic Chinese porcelain bowl designs and learn their symbolism. Once the story concludes the next section shows photos of actual bowls and talks about the intricate meanings of the images and use of color. You also learn how the bowls were made. The last thing is a bowl you can decorate yourself.

Although obviously geared for children, “Bowls of Happiness” is actually a wonderful source of information for adults too. The original art is enchanting and the photos of the bowls are beautiful. “Bowls of Happiness” is a great little book for children and adults.

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