cover image An Ordinary Day

An Ordinary Day

Elana K. Arnold, illus. by Elizabet Vukovic´. Beach Lane, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 97

On a city street one day, everything appears normal to children playing. But two houses are “unusually” quiet. In one, an old dog is drawing its last breaths; its family, two women and three children, gathers around sorrowfully. Next door, a father, pregnant mother, and small child gather expectantly, waiting for new life to arrive. Arnold (What Riley Wore) underscores the circumstances’ parallels: a doctor arrives and examines the dog; a visitor arrives and tends to the pregnant woman. As soft music plays in each house, both professionals say the same thing: “She is ready.” Birth and death occur all the time, all around us, Arnold notes, “like all days,/ and all neighborhoods,/ everywhere.” Figures drawn by Vukovic´ (the Jasmine Toguchi series) have crisp, silhouette-like contours that contrast against airy, almost weightless washes. With enormous sensitivity, the creators weave together beginnings, endings, joy and sadness, and a metaphysical sense of the universe’s continuity. Ages up to 8. [em]Author’s agent: Rubin Pfeffer, Rubin Pfeffer Content. Illustrator’s agent: Justin Rucker, Shannon Assoc. (Mar.) [/em]