"Happy Families" is created on a special occasion in 1962: Lotte and Heino Dorner are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. Children Steven and Jane surprise their parents with the photo album upon their return from a trip to Italy. The album illustrates a history of 25 years of the everyday life of an emigré family in England.
For their children, who were born in England, Lotte Dorner designs a bilingual card game. The title "Happy Families" is a pun: in British English it is also the name of a card game similar to "Go Fish."