On a hot summer day in Arkansas in 1953, ten-year-old Annie Marcus is intent on nothing else but scraping a tick off her skin when she receives the scare of her life. Suddenly, she is looking into the eyes of Be More Happy, an old hermit that lives deep in the woods.
Frightening stories have circulated among Annie's ten friends for a long time about the hermit with long white hair who supposedly has no tongue, but when Annie notices his eyes are like two big, black, sad holes in his head, she ignores the mystery surrounding the old man and strikes up a conversation. As time goes on and Be More Happy begins offering gentle advice and a strong shoulder to cry on, Annie realizes that despite opposition from other children, she needs to bring Be More Happy into their circle of friends.
As the children all learn to accept others, face the tragedy of death, and understand the importance of fulfilling dreams, Be More Happy teaches them all a lifelong lesson they will never forget.