If you have ever observed pill bugs, regionally known as potato bugs or rollie pollies, you know what delightful creatives they are. Hank the pill bug stars in his adventure of a typical day, one that enchants with the ordinary rendered extraordinary.
Hank’s Big Day, written by Evan Kuhlman and illustrated by Chuck Groenink, begins with a smiling bug with big dark eyes and a waving leg, who peers at readers from around the corner of his rock house. Throughout Hank’s day, he gleefully shimmies, nibbles, creeps, climbs and, of course, curls up. Hank’s best friend is an aviator hat-wearing human girl named Amelia, who idolizes Amelia Earhart. The world of imaginative play is explored with utmost delight as Amelia takes off on a flying adventure accompanied by her pill bug friend. On their pretend travels, they cross the Atlantic Ocean, wave to the queen in England and eat in a Paris café. They land safely back home and part ways, happy to have shared a wonderful day together.
Rendered in muted, natural colors, Groenink’s line drawings realistically display Hank’s bug’s-eye perspective. When Hank rides on Amelia’s hat, readers see an amazing, expansive view that encompasses Hank’s whole world. After Hank’s time with Amelia, he repeats his trek through the backyard, this time in reverse. The lighting in the pictures skillfully shows the passing of time.
This charming, positive book revels in unusual friendships and the value of imagination.