Title: On a Magical Do-Nothing Day
Author/Illustrator: Beatrice Alemagna
Published: Harper Collins 2016
Sometimes you have days where you’re not really planning on doing anything particular. Days where you’re just wandering around and it seems like everything is just…right. Just perfect. These days usually take place in nature…a field, a forest…outside. Personally, I have had several days like this. (Most notably the time when I was 16 and ended up stranded on a mountain with friends…we sang the entire score of The Sound of Music as we descended. And did I mention there were reindeer? And that we were in Germany. Ah, wild and crazy adventures with the concert band. Good times, good times.)
Anyway, today’s story, On a Magical Do-Nothing Day, follows a child (could be male or female, not really relevant to the story) as they go to a cabin with their writer mom. Their mom is interested in…writing. And, as any writer knows, children aren’t conducive to getting stuff done (as I write this, my two are downstairs playing a loud board game with their father). So the mom does what every mom wants to do: she sends the kid outside.
It is raining. The kid just wants to play on their Game Boy-like device. They do not want to have anything to do with this ‘nature’ business.
But then, the kid drops their game into a pond. Poof. Gone.
There is a brief moment of panic.
Fortunately, the kid manages to meet some friendly snails, dig in lovely dirt, find a mushroom patch and fall down a hill. The kid climbs a tree, drinks rain, watches bugs, talks to a bird…generally has a fabulous time in nature. The child is totally soaked to the skin when they arrive back at the cabin, but mom is waiting with a towel and hot chocolate.
There are three things that make this story really wonderful:
1. The simplicity of it all. It’s so relatable. Reading this story is like taking a walk in the fall. It’s chilly out, but not freezing. The air is fresh and clean. The water is cold. It’s so lovely to come inside after a walk like this one.
2. The art. I LOVE the art. Especially the fact that it looks like a neon orange crayon was used to create the kid’s jacket. There’s so much movement in each page, so much expression in the child’s face.
3. The way the story is written. It’s almost poetic in nature. It’s wonderful to read.
So here’s what the family said:
Vivi: Well, I loved it. I loved the part where she (Vivi thinks all characters are girls these days) goes outside and really experiences nature. I liked everything about the story. The art is great. A+!
Lily: I liked the part where she collected stones like glass. Those must have been beautiful. And the snails were cute!
Karl: I really enjoyed the book. The writing was good, not too much. The art was fantastic.
Jess: Yup, I liked it a lot as well. I really like the way that you could feel the cold of the outside during the story, and then the warmth of going inside at the end. A!
If you’re looking for a lovely book to read before bed (or, in our case, after dinner), this is the one for you!