Monday Is Wash Day

MaryAnn Sundby, illus. by Tessa Blackham. Ripple Grove (Midpoint Trade, dist.), $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-9913866-6-6
A young unnamed narrator describes helping her mother and sister, Annie, with the family’s weekly laundry chores at a time when crank-operated wringers and clotheslines were integral to the process. “First we work and then we play” is the family’s motto, but this story, the first children’s book for both Sundby and Blackham, is mostly concerned with the former. In exacting detail, the girl describes how she and Annie gather soiled items from around their farmhouse (a green early-20th-century oven sits in the kitchen, primly patterned wallpapers and white wainscoting line the walls), fill the washer and rinse tubs, and help wash and dry the linens (“Sheets and towels on the outside line. Shirts and blouses on the middle line”). Washes of pale color, delicate pencil detailing, and cut-paper collage elements create an expansive and inviting domestic backdrop, as Blackham uses wrinkled paper to evoke rumpled fabric and white string for clotheslines and apron ties. Beyond offering a glimpse of bygone household routines, the story is a quiet reminder of the pleasures of a job well done. Ages 2–7. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/27/2016
Release date: 09/01/2016
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