Foreword Reviews

Have You Filled a Bucket Today?

A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids

Clarion Rating: 4 out of 5

Have You Filled a Bucket Today? is a helpful guidebook for young children about how to be happy in their daily lives.

Carol McCloud’s timeless picture book Have You Filled a Bucket Today? teaches kids that other people’s happiness should matter to them.

Designed as a lesson for children ages 4-9, the book is a how-to on becoming “bucket fillers,” or people who live a happy, rewarding life. It builds upon the idea that we all carry around an invisible bucket to “hold your good thoughts and good feelings about yourself.” A full bucket means that you’re happy; an empty bucket signifies sadness or loneliness.

Discussing the differences between filling the bucket and emptying one, the book reminds children that taking from someone else’s bucket won’t help to fill their own, while helping other people to fill their buckets will fill their own in turn. The text works toward a satisfying ending reminding children to ask themselves whether or not they’ve filled a bucket at the end of each day.

The text is didactic––describing the purpose of the invisible bucket, how to fill and empty one, and why it matters. Filling a bucket is easy and doesn’t take much time, according to the book’s examples, and it promises that seeing a smile on another person’s face is worth it.

Prescriptive rather than narrative, the book is full of examples and ideas. It makes space for all children, in service of its belief that everyone makes choices about whether to be a bucket filler or a bucket dipper.

David Messing’s illustrations are polished and consistent. Children of all ages, races, sizes, and temperaments are represented, and the pictures are colorful and descriptive, depicting feelings clearly and personifying the messages that words leave; a full bucket is shown matching the emotions of the characters on its page.

Have You Filled a Bucket Today? is a helpful guidebook for young children about how to be happy in their daily lives, demonstrating its tools in action and leaving children with actionable advice.

Reviewed by Rebecca Monterusso

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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