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On a Magical Do-Nothing Day
Contributor(s): Alemagna, Beatrice
ISBN: 0062657607     ISBN-13: 9780062657602
Publisher: Harpercollins Childrens Books
    OUR PRICE: $16.20  
Product Type: School And Library
Published: September 2017
Annotation: Sent outside on a rainy day by a mom who tries to pry him away from his video games, a little boy is dismayed when his handheld game falls into the pond before encounters with giant snails, wet mushrooms and other elements awaken him to the sensory aspects of nature. 30,000 first printing.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Imagination; Juvenile fiction.
Rain and rainfall; Juvenile fiction.
Video games; Juvenile fiction.
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Fiction | Nature & The Natural World
- Juvenile Fiction | Family | Parents
- Juvenile Fiction | Imagination & Play
Dewey: [E]
LCCN: 2016950338
Academic/Grade Level: Kindergarten, Ages 5-6
Book type: Easy Fiction
Physical Information: 12.50" H x 9.25" W x 0.50" (1.15 lbs)
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2018 Spring)
On a rainy day in the country, the unnamed and ungendered narrator wants only to play a handheld electronic game. Forced outside, the child encounters talking snails then discovers the wonders of nature. The didactic story is further weakened by its unnecessary fantasy element, but beautiful mixed-media illustrations evoke the mood and strikingly contrast a bright orange rain slicker with the damp, dull woods. Copyright 2018 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2017 July #2)

While her mother works at her desk, a girl in owlish spectacles plays with a handheld video game console. "What about a break from your game?" her mother says, prodding the girl outside despite the pouring rain. Almost at once she drops her device in a pond ("This could not be happening to me") and sinks into despair ("The rain felt like rocks were hitting me"). Then, in a moment of magic, she's greeted by four cheerful snails, and her journey opens into an encounter with all the life of the forest: "a thousand seeds and pellets, kernels, grains, roots, and berries touched my fingers." Alemagna's spreads ignite with the warm glow of discovery. The generous trim size accommodates big, dramatic spreads as the girl, in her incandescent orange cape, tumbles down a hill and sees the world turned dizzily upside down. When she returns to the family's cabin, the girl finds that even her mother looks a bit different now. Alemagna demonstrates an uncanny knack for rendering emotional experience with line and color in this intimate and distinctive story. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)

Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2017 August)

PreS-Gr 2—In this story from France, a mother and young child arrive at a remote cabin in the pouring rain, and all the protagonist wants to do is play an electronic game on the couch. When mom insists that the kid go outside, the youngster takes the game along for protection from "this boring, wet place" but drops it in the pond. At first, the child is desolate, like "a small tree trapped outside in a hurricane." But then the protagonist begins to really look around: snails glow in the dark; colorful mushrooms are reminiscent of the grandparents' basement; interesting objects lie beneath the mud. A tumble down a hill provides an upside-down view of the world that prompts the kid to notice bugs, talk to a bird, splash in puddles, and watch the world shining through smooth stones. Filled with delight in this "magical do-nothing day," the youngster runs home and even sees mom in a new light as they enjoy hot chocolate together. Alemagna's striking illustrations, executed in gouache, oil, collage, and wax pencil, extend the text. Sheets of rain fall from a black sky into a forest of green shadows. In the early pages, the only brightness emanates from the protagonist, whose gender is never identified, a small speck in the orange coat and pointy hood amid looming trees. But the skies brighten and the kid appears larger as the wonder in new discoveries increases. This poignant read-aloud may motivate children to shut down their devices and interact with the world around them. VERDICT A strong choice for most picture book collections. Pair it with Dan Yaccarino's Doug Unplugged for group discussion.—Marianne Saccardi, Children's Literature Consultant, Cambridge, MA

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.