cover image A Very Important Day

A Very Important Day

Maggie Rugg Herold. HarperCollins, $17.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-688-13065-7

Early one morning, too excited to sleep, a woman from the Philippines watches from her window as snow falls on New York City. As the day breaks, 11 other families-each originally from a different country-are seen heading downtown and heard referring to this ``very important day.'' Youngsters won't pick up on their destination until well past the story's midpoint: these families are bound for the courthouse, where, among a vast group, they are sworn in as U.S. citizens. After each receives a certificate and recites an oath, the judge announces: ""Welcome. We are glad to have you. This is a very important day."" And as the new citizens, their families and friends leave the building to view the sun shining on the freshly fallen snow, a voice in the crowd proclaims, awkwardly and repetitiously, ""This has become our country on this very important day!"" Ending with a note explaining the process of gaining citizenship, Herold's first children's book meets the target audience in terms of its content, but its repetitive structure is better suited to younger children. Though stiff in some places and underdone in others, Stock's (Where Are You Going, Manyoni?) watercolor art gives personality to the large multicultural crew assembled here. Ages 6-up. (Aug.)