Oh, Were They Ever Happy!


The Noonan children take it upon themselves to help paint the house.

As a kid, I begged my mom to paint my room neon, or at least purple, bright blue, or possibly—deep magenta? These propositions were met with buckets of white paint, or in one case, a pink so pale it might as well have been white.

Whether splashing color on walls is a universal desire of children or not, Peter Spier captures inadvertent paint-laden mischief in Oh! Were They Ever Happy!, a tale about the Noonan children, who find themselves home alone one morning, as their parents run errands and the babysitter fails to show. They take it upon themselves to help their mom, who has long desired a new coat of paint on the home. Lugging buckets of paint and a ladder out from the garage, they paint and paint and paint. On goes the green, the orange, the purple, the blue, the yellow and the red. Then, they even dutifully clean up. Standing back from the house at day’s end, they (and all of their neighbors) admire their rainbow of work.

Spier’s books, beautifully painted with a mix of watercolor, pen, and ink reveal humorous details within already-playful scenes. His other titles, including PEOPLE, The Fox Went Out On a Chilly Evening, and Bored — Nothing To Do!, are as much a delight to look at as they are to read.

Find Oh, Were They Ever Happy! at your local library.