Smiley Eyes, Smiley Faces: a lift-the-flap face-mask book

SMILEY EYES, SMILEY FACES is out today in the UK – we represent Dawn McNiff, the author. This is – fingers crossed – our final pandemic picture book. (God forbid this whole nightmare goes on long enough to allow for any more of them…) Flap books are irresistible, and this one has been carried around a lot by both girls since our early copy arrived. Watch to the end of the video for the joy!

A note on the music – on insta we used Frank Sinatra. Copyright – what can you do 😉

This time last year, during our first lockdown, Viola managed to suffer what must surely be the Classic Homeschooling Injury – she fractured her finger in an abacus. I kid you not. She was happy enough on the way to hospital for an x-ray – she didn’t seem to pick up on my anxiety at having to breach our shielding to visit the most Coviddy place imaginable. But when we got there, she did freak out at all the strangers in masks… 

Little ones are programmed to read faces. They seek reassurance in our smiles. Of course masks can make them uncomfortable (just seeing them on others, I mean – persuading them to wear one is another thing entirely). So here’s the book I’d have liked for Viola, back then… 

Dawn McNiff has found just the right 75 words, Zoe Waring just the right 4 faces, and Ladybird 5 sturdy flaps to hide and reveal their smiles, and a mirror to finish. Masks made friendly…job done! 

If only it were that easy to persuade all grown-ups… 

NB there are plenty of countries that take mask-wearing far more seriously than the UK. It’s very frustrating to me that there isn’t currently a US or Canadian publisher for this book, for instance. As always, Blackwells deliver internationally, but if you have a favourite publisher where you are, and wonder if they might be interested in buying the rights, then feel free to comment and @ them in below. You never know…

James Catchpole

Smiley Eyes, Smiley Faces is available in the UK at Bookshop or wherever you usually buy books – or you can buy it here with our affiliate link to Blackwell’s – international delivery included.

[Video description: Mainie is holding Smiley Eyes, Smiley Faces in front of her face. It’s a lift-the-flap book for small children with a blonde white woman and a Black male doctor on the front – a series of faces are covered by flap-masks, when you lift the flap there’s simply a smiley face behind it. Mainie’s wearing a mask, and when she pulls it down is smiling. Then Mainie and Viola cavort with the book. (An underused word – cavort – in my opinion.)]

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