cover image Ode to a Bad Day

Ode to a Bad Day

Chelsea Lin Wallace, illus. by Hyewon Yum. Chronicle, $16.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-79721-080-3

Rather than glorifying a specific topic, these odes narrated by a schoolchild bewail myriad small annoyances that can accompany a bad day. In early lines by Wallace (A Home Named Walter), even the morning’s first moments presage trouble: “Oh Bad Morning,/ eyes are crusty, bones are rusty./ Why do all my teeth feel dusty?” Watercolor and colored pencil spreads from Yum (Luli and the Language of Tea) show the child, portrayed with light skin and black hair, frowning amid snarled-up bedclothes. The room’s stuffed animals, together with a visiting cricket, give the child a collective side-eye. Brilliant pinks and oranges offer heightened energy to Yum’s consistently engaging spreads, while sensory-focused lines list the indignities of the day: someone cutting in the racially diverse classroom’s line, a missing pudding cup at lunch, a spoiled art project, and more. Each individual annoyance may seem small on its own (“Oh Hiccup,/ you interrupt hiccup/ my play with Nick hiccup”), but the cumulative irritations make the day a total write-off—though not without some reflection (“I’m so annoyed.../ but not destroyed”) and the promise of a better tomorrow. Ages 5–8. Author’s agent: Jennifer Rofé, Andrea Brown Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Sean McCarthy, Sean McCarthy Literary. (Apr.)