Professional reference of literary work Happiness is a fox

Author: Iva Paštrnáková Dejová

Author of the book: Evelina Daciūtė
Translator (into Slovak): Mária Pavligová
Illustrator: Aušra Kiudulaitė
Release year: 2018
Slovak version


Therapeutic goals: support of self-confidence and trust, help in adapting to changes, formulating one’s own dreams – direction, support of friendship
Recommended age group: 4+
Secondary target group: parents, adults
Form of work: individual (with supervision – younger), group (with moderator/therapist – older)


Brief content:

A story about friendship and dreams. And also about what is very important for each of us – we can read on the back covers of the book. At first glance, a mundane story about the everyday life of a family with a boy gains momentum in the moment of meeting a fox. Actually, Jakub’s family is not so ordinary – they live on a giant tree in a beautiful park. Dad flies a helicopter and delivers people and things. Mom models vases and flower pots. (Are they fulfilling their childhood dreams?) Jakub goes to town to buy pastries, where they sit together over cups of tea in the afternoon. Once on the way home, at the end of the park, he meets a fox swinging on a swing. She spoke to him, he gave her his roll, and they became friends from then on. Every time he met her, they would rock and tell each other stories. When he asked her opinion, she replied: “It all depends on how we look at it.” The boy’s parents did not quite believe the story about the fox, and besides, they were about to move to a bigger city. Jakub was sad that he would lose his only girlfriend. “Good things will show up after time” – the fox comforted him. The second city was bigger, dad had a bigger helicopter, the tree on which the family lived in the park was taller… And finally, even here in the park on the swing, Jakub met his friend the fox! Because when she felt that she should be somewhere else, she would go there. A story about how happiness can be completely mundane things like a walk in the park, mom’s ceramics, fragrant pastries, sitting with loved ones over tea, time spent with friends, but also new friends. Even the Lithuanian author Evelina herself dedicated the book to all “… who are not afraid to make new friendships and love”.


Description of the possibilities of professional pedagogical/therapeutic work:

Simple, but literary and visually very poetic, the plot of the book offers several possibilities for professional pedagogical/therapeutic work.

Before we get to the deeper themes, let’s look at the formal matter of the visual side of the book. The illustrator Aušra Kiudulaitė is rightly mentioned on the front cover of the book next to the author of the text, because her playful, but also fanciful and dreamy illustrations fully co-formulate and complete this literary work. The illustrations are identical in the original Lithuanian edition (2016), in the English and Slovak editions (both 2018). Clearly referring to the text (when the fox was in a good mood, she said that the color of happiness is orange; orange, carrot cake, leaves in autumn) – and clearly associating the fox itself with color – orange is the dominant color in the visual processing of the book. Also in Oswald’s color wheel, its opposite is blue. This contrast is also dealt with in terms of meaning, when in the illustrator’s presentation the fox’s black day/her bad mood is expressed in blue. Here the first motive for therapeutic questions is offered: Which color would you use to express sadness and which color would you use to express joy?

A strong moment of the book, which I think can be worked with, is the motive of change/loss, which the main character sees as leaving his familiar city. Although his father convinces him: “There is never enough of a good thing. Everything can always be even better”, it is questionable how much bigger and more must necessarily mean better. Within the group, a discussion can be developed about this, also based on their own experiences (stays abroad, moving to another city for study and work, what they left behind in their hometown, what they gained in a new environment, what would they do differently today?). The fox is radical when she prepares Jakub to leave: “And sooner or later someone will come to take my place.” And he knows that he will be the happiest in the world when he meets her again. At the end of the book, it will come true for him. But it doesn’t happen that often in life. Life is a change.

A recurring and one of the main motifs of the book is the swing. “Making friends with a fox is like swinging on a swing… You’re up once, then down again.” That’s actually a bit like life itself: once up – once down. But the swing is also about unlimited freedom when you’re up high. Therefore, in therapeutic work, the motif of the swing can be partly handled as the motif of wings and reflect on how we can soar higher in life and achieve what we desire. Thanks to the fox friend from the literary model, the possibilities then seem limitless. Healthy dreaming is desirable. Even fulfilling childhood dreams. What are our dreams? Where are we going? In this way, the discussion in the therapeutic group can be moderated.

Apart from dreaming, the strongest motif of the book in question is friendship. Even the author Evelina herself keeps her fingers crossed for those who have the courage to establish new friendships. Regarding this motive, we suggest that a group of elders discuss and think together about a quote by the French painter Pierre Bonnard (1867 – 1947): “He who has not been disgusted by people is capable of friendship. Who believes and knows that there are generous people, sovereign souls and good hearts in the crowd. The one who does not get tired of looking for them and loves them even before he found them.” With the problem raised in this way, the discussion will probably soon come to the topic of trust.


Description of experience from own work with a literary piece:

With a literary work, I have my own experience of reading it to a 4-year-old child. The child was captivated by the partially believable and partially fanciful story of his near peer and the personified fox. The child was aware of the story of friendship, described in the second layer of the book. And as a parent, I especially appreciated this story during the period of covid restrictions, when the natural socialization of young kindergarteners was also disrupted.

In the context of the offered read story and my own childhood, I would highlight one more moment. The protagonist of the book, Jakub, can, in my opinion, be especially interesting to children who are only children, just like him. It is quite possible that for children who grow up alone in a smaller family, more closely locked in the world of adults, friendships are even more important. And that is exactly what the book Happiness is a Fox is about.


The possibility to consult the indications and contraindications of the work, specific procedures or experiences, before, during and after using the work with the author of the recommendation:

Yes, via e-mail:


The recommendation was created by:

Mgr. Iva Paštrnáková Dejová, PhD. et PhD.,  Workplace: previously university teacher (PdF UK and VŠVU), currently on parental leave (Slovakia), In Bratislava, February 27, 2023

The recommendation from Slovak to English translated by: Mária Trechová, Workplace: PRO SKIZP – Association for support of Slovak Chamber of Physicists, Laboratory Diagnosticians, Language Speech Therapists and Therapeutic Educators, c. a. Bratislava, Slovakia



Daciūtė, E. – Kiudulaitė, A. 2018. Happiness is a fox. 1st ed. Bratislava: IKAR, Inc. – Stonožka, 2018. 44 p. ISBN: ISBN 978-80-551-6266-9


It didn’t pass language editing!


Recommended citation method:

Paštrnáková Dejová, Iva. 2023. Professional reference of Evelina Daciūtė’s literary work Šťastie je líška. [Happiness is a fox.] In Kotrbová, K. et al: Bratislava: PRO SKIZP – Association to support the development of the Slovak Chamber of Clinical Physics, Laboratory Diagnosticians, Language Speech Therapists and Therapeutic Pedagogues, 2023.  ISBN 978-80-974667-0-1 Available on:


The contribution was created thanks to support from the European Union Erasmus+ program, Key action 2 – Cooperation between organizations and institutions, KA210 – Small partnerships for cooperation in the field of education and training. Project name “Prototype of online teaching aid for bibliotherapy”, project number 2022-1-SK01-KA210-VET-000082483. It represents the opinion of the author and the European Commission is not responsible for any use of the information contained therein.

Additional information


Author: Evelina Daciūtė
Translator into Slovak: Mária Pavligová
Illustrator: Aušra Kiudulaitė
Release year: 2018
Edition order: 1st edition
Publisher: IKAR, Inc. – Stonožka, Bratislava
Total number of pages: 44
ISBN 978-80-551-6266-9
Literary genre: prose

Slovak version
English version
Hungarian version –
Ukrainian version
Trailer of production by the Puppet Theater at the Crossroads, Banská Bystrica