cover image All in a Day

All in a Day

Cynthia Rylant, , illus. by Nikki McClure. . Abrams, $17.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8109-8321-2

McClure's (Collect Raindrops ) illustrations draw most of the attention here. Using an X-Acto knife and black paper, McClure suggests textures as varied as pea-plant tendrils, falling rain and the softness of a mother's body. “A day is a perfect piece of time/ to live a life,/ to plant a seed,” Newbery Medalist Rylant (When I Was Young in the Mountains ) begins, as a young farm boy ties one shoelace and a hen pecks at the other. In spreads on alternating blue and yellow backgrounds, the boy waters his garden and gathers eggs, but also picnics, naps and, along with his mother and the hen, stretches out on his back to gaze up at the sky. End-on perspective makes their feet, noses and the hen's body the only topographical features protruding from the curve of the horizon. “Underneath that great big sky/ the earth is all a-spin./ This day will soon be over/ and it won't come back again,” Rylant writes. While children aren't usually moved by messages about fleeting time—that's a sentiment adults are likelier to have—they'll enjoy Rylant's rhythms and the tenderness of McClure's images. Ages 4–up. (Mar.)