cover image A Difficult Day

A Difficult Day

Eugenie Fernandes, Eugenie. Kids Can Press, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-921103-17-2

Melinda is having a tough time. Not only did she not sleep well, but in gym class, stupid Harold punched her, and when shes rude at bathtime, her mother sends her to her room. Taking refuge under her bed, Melinda felt as if she were lost in space and nobody even cared. Her mother does, though, of courseI love you more than anything in the whole world, she says, and crawls under the bed with cookies and milk to prove it. If Fernandess (Katies Hand-me-down Day) prose is only occasionally punched up with color (Melinda felt like a noodle floating in a bowl of chicken soup), it also steers clear of didacticism. The tone is direct and the sympathetic conclusion more powerful as a result. The workmanlike illustrations are unified visually by a palette of saturated blues, plums and greens. Except for the chicken-soup fantasy, which is as good visually as it is verbally, the art is best when it sticks to real-life settingsscenes of Melinda imagining herself marching across a shrunken planet, la The Little Prince, are forced. Ages 3-7. (Apr.)