Happy pants: Why is Mummy so sad? by Heather Gallagher
Ill. by Liz McGrath. Wombat Books, 2014. ISBN 9781921632938.
Using a picture book to explain difficult subjects for children is not new. Happy pants is a welcome addition to this group as the author addresses the issue of Perinatal or Post Natal Depression from a child's point of view.
The story, told in simple language and colourful pictures, begins with the young boy recounting the things he enjoys when Mum wears her happy pants from building sand castles to lots of cuddles. Everything changes when Mum arrives home from hospital with baby Darcy. She stays in bed and the happy pants remain in the wardrobe.
As Dad looks after the baby he tries to comfort the boy who is missing his mother.
'Only babies sleep all day, don't they Daddy?'
'Not always,' he says.
Eventually the youngster sneaks into the wardrobe and takes the happy pants to his cubby and inadvertently rips them. His despair is evident.
I don't even get into trouble
Can you put a bandaid on a broken heart?
Finally Grandma comes and the youngsters have fun cooking and playing while Mum and Dad visit the doctor. Grandma mends the happy pants and Mum returns but on the slow road to recovery.
An explanation of Perinatal Depression and contact information for support services in Australia is provided at the end of the book.