cover image Saturday


Oge Mora. Little, Brown, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-43127-9

Ava’s mother works six days a week, so Saturday, their only day together, “was the day they cherished.” Despite a practiced plan and tickets to a “one-night-only puppet show,” though, this one isn’t going particularly well. The library’s story time is canceled, a car’s splash ruins their salon ’dos, and the park is too noisy and crowded to be peaceful. But they face each setback the same way: “They paused, closed their eyes, and—whew!—let out a deep breath,” then Ava’s mother reassures her that “today will be special. Today will be splendid. Today is SATURDAY!” Carefully paced repetition structures the family’s experiences, and brilliantly colored collages by Mora (Thank You, Omu!) convey their trip through the city with elegant energy; their figures dance across the pages, and sometimes the words do, too. Scenes at the family breakfast table, inside the salon, and at the riotously busy park are filled with detail that rewards second looks. When they encounter the worst disaster of all—this one is Ava’s mother’s fault—it’s Ava’s turn to reassure her mom, and she finds special words to do it. The family handles the stress of dashed expectations in a way that acknowledges disappointment while conveying the buoyancy of resilience and the joy of their bond. And a delightful coda may inspire readers to share the inventive way they salvage their day. Ages 4–8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.)