cover image Picture Day Perfection

Picture Day Perfection

Deborah Diesen, illus. by Dan Santat. Abrams, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4197-0844-2

Things could not be going more wrong for the narrator on school picture day, which starts with “the worst case of bedhead ever” and a maple syrup accident, then culminates in some serious paint spattering during art class. What a disaster on the very day one is being captured for posterity—or is it? What if the boy is actually running a long con, and his idea of perfection is in fact a photo that captures “my perfectly tangled hair, my perfectly rumpled shirt, my perfectly sticky face, my perfectly composed scowl”? Diesen (The Pout-Pout Fish) and Santat (The Three Ninja Pigs) are good-natured storytellers, and Santat’s expertise in exaggeration is just what the premise ordered (as the camera prepares to flash, the boy becomes a dead ringer for the Grinch). While the narrator’s personality never quite gels—either as sad sack or messy mastermind—Diesen and Santat unveil the narrator’s secret at just the right moment, before unloading another twist that should trigger photo-worthy grins. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Alyssa Eisner Henkin, Trident Media Group. Illustrator’s agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (Sept.)