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This Beautiful Day Hardcover – August 1, 2017
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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With colors and compositions conceived to celebrate the allure of water, the book jacket and opening scenes immediately recall Lee's The Wave (2008).Three bored children, stuck inside while it pours, are rendered in pencil, with paper-white skin. When the boy turns on the radio, blue swirls of music animate the space; even the stuffed rabbit's ears perk up. As dance connects music and water, the children skip out into the puddles. Jackson's words wisely allow room for Lee's imagination. He makes no reference to rain; that interpretation of a "beautiful day" is the illustrator's. The story is propelled by the author's spirited verses, featuring internal and end-of-line rhymes that scan with only an occasional bump: "This beautiful day… / so great for parading, // for cartwheeling fun / or hiding / and seeking // or gliding / and sliding / in this marigold sun." Listeners will track the momentum of these kinetic kids as they swing from trees with friends, parachuting back to earth with umbrellas à la Mary Poppins. Digitally manipulated acrylics in summery shades fill the pages as the day brightens, offering another take on the title. Popsicles, paired with an e.e. cummings-esque arrangement of "doodly-doo"s and parenthetical bodily sounds, relax this jazzy, pizzazz-y romp—until the wind whips up. A delightful depiction of the ability of children to find joy regardless of atmospheric conditions. (Picture book. 3-6) (Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW 6/1/17)
About the Author
Richard Jackson is a long-time editor at Atheneum Books for Young Readers and the critically acclaimed author of Have A Look, Says Book, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes. In starred reviews, School Library Journal touts it as a “…celebration of sharing a book together” and Publishers Weekly proclaimed it “a shoe-in for the bedtime rotation.” He is also the author of All Ears, All Eyes, illustrated by Katherine Tillotson. Recognized for his distinctive taste in children’s literature, in 2005 he was named as the ALSC May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecturer. He lives with his wife and near his grandchildren in Towson, Maryland.
Suzy Lee is the critically acclaimed illustrator and author of many books for children including Wave, which was awarded the Gold Medal for Original Art by the Society of Illustrators and was a New York Times Best Illustrated Book; Shadow, which was a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book; and Open This Little Book, which was awarded the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature (Picture Book Honor Winner). She lives and works in Seoul, South Korea.
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Jackson’s text is filled with motion and rhythm. It invites readers to swirl and twirl with the characters on the page. The action words in the text zing and zip, moving the book forward even as they celebrate the bad weather and move to the sunshine. There is a sense of optimism throughout the book, an acceptance and joy of rainy weather and then a true delight when it becomes sunny later.
Lee’s illustrations are lovely. They use color so skillfully, showing first the gray day while the children are quietly playing alone and then the single swirls of blue that color the children and their clothing. The book slowly unfolds with color, until it bursts like the meadow of flowers and the sun in the trees.
Share this one on rainy and sunny days. Just have umbrellas and boots ready along with popsicles too. Appropriate for ages 2-4.
It's raining outside, something that would keep many kids gloom and bored. But these kids refuse to let the weather get them down. It's a beautiful day, and it's all in the attitude to make warmth shine through until everyone is caught up in the joyful mood.
One read through this book and smiles are guaranteed. With determination and simply a great attitude, grey turns into a rainbow of colors. It's a lovely message that hits home through the simple text and engaging illustrations. There aren't many words, just a short phrase or two on each two-page spread. The wording offers exactly enough to set the base, while the illustrations take on the rest. The combination is extremely well-balanced and allows young readers to flip through the pages and enjoy the story even on their own.
The illustrations bring this book to life. Starting with monotone grays and whites, the gloominess clings to the pages. Little by little, as the characters dive into cheerful thoughts and let their positive attitude overflow, colors dance in between the dark lines. By the end, a rainbow of brightness beams from every picture making the memory of anything mundane disappear. A gentle dose of fantasy glides in the last half of the story, adding a lovely sense of adventure, freedom and imagination. As the characters take off in the last scenes, it's hard not to want to join in and chase the beautiful day along with them. And maybe that's exactly what young readers should do.
I received a complimentary copy and found it so wonderful that I wanted to leave my honest thoughts.
I like the progressive addition of colors as the day moves from stormy to sunny. A good reminder that fun can be had even when the rain is falling and making things gloomy. And best of all, these kids make their own fun with their imaginations (though the jumping out of a tree with an umbrella for a parachute is not recommended). Kids should enjoy the fun words in the book and the rhythm of the poem that it is.