cover image This Beautiful Day

This Beautiful Day

Richard Jackson, illus. by Suzy Lee. Atheneum/Dlouhy, $15.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4814-4139-1

Inside on a dreary, rainy day, a boy hears a strain of music from the radio. The weather outside is reflected in the artwork’s drab duotone: blue and black on white. Playfully, the boy starts to dance, and splashes of bright blue appear. Two girls, possibly his sisters, join him: the older one struts while the younger one twirls with a stuffed rabbit. They venture into the rain with their umbrellas (“This beautiful day... has all of us skipping and singing and calling aloud”). Lee (Ask Me), whose singing line adds delight to every page, draws them stomping joyously in puddles. Alert viewers will notice additional color creeping into the spreads. Sure enough, the rain stops and color bursts forth as the children, a larger group now, toss their umbrellas, then race through grassy expanses and climb trees. Sprightly wordplay (“high-fiving and yes, we’re-alive-ing”) and a dash of sound humor—“doodly (slurp), doodly (burp),” during a Popsicle break—make Jackson’s high-spirited hymn to childhood an heir to earlier classics by Margaret Wise Brown and Ruth Krause. No grand adventures or special effects are needed: the story’s fun flows from the simplest things. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)