Title: The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley
Author: Colin Thompson
Illustrator: Amy Lissiat (Colin Thompson)
Themes: Life, Happiness, Love, Needs, Consumer needs, Greed, Money, Satisfaction,
This smart picture book will appeal to older readers as well as younger ones in it’s use of satire and humour. The book tells the story of Riley, one incredibly happy rat who was born perfect, he’s always been happy and is always happy with what life deals him. Riley is happy where he is all the time, with his perfect children and perfect wife who he loves…
The book compares the needs and wants of humans to that of Riley the rat, how we always need something new, bigger, more beautiful, easier, more spacious, further away, more expensive but Riley the rat, well he’s just chuffed to curl into a ball some place warm.
Human beings live for quite a long time and for a lot of that time we are not happy. We want to be taller, shorter, fatter, thinner, older and younger. We want our straight hair to be curly, our curly hair to be straight, and our brown eyes to be blue. We want to be somewhere else with someone else, eating something else and wearing something fantastic no one else can afford. Rats live for quite a short time and for most of that time they are very, very happy … And we think we are better than rats!