On a Magical Do-Nothing Day

Beatrice Alemagna, trans. from the French by Jill Davis. Harper, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-06-265760-2
While her mother works at her desk, a girl in owlish spectacles plays with a handheld video game console. “What about a break from your game?” her mother says, prodding the girl outside despite the pouring rain. Almost at once she drops her device in a pond (“This could not be happening to me”) and sinks into despair (“The rain felt like rocks were hitting me”). Then, in a moment of magic, she’s greeted by four cheerful snails, and her journey opens into an encounter with all the life of the forest: “a thousand seeds and pellets, kernels, grains, roots, and berries touched my fingers.” Alemagna’s spreads ignite with the warm glow of discovery. The generous trim size accommodates big, dramatic spreads as the girl, in her incandescent orange cape, tumbles down a hill and sees the world turned dizzily upside down. When she returns to the family’s cabin, the girl finds that even her mother looks a bit different now. Alemagna demonstrates an uncanny knack for rendering emotional experience with line and color in this intimate and distinctive story. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/10/2017
Release date: 08/31/2017
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