STARRED REVIEW
September 27, 2016

Cheerful chores

By MaryAnn Sundby, illustrated by Tessa Blackham
Review by

A delightful book that feels like playing paper dolls with extremely artistic friends, Monday Is Wash Day gives us a snapshot of daily life for Annie and her family. In a time before front-loaders and delicate cycles, before dry-cleaners and steamers, Annie and her sister pitch in—helping their mother fetch the water and turn the wringer, pour the bluing and hang the clothes out to dry. Proud of their hard work, the sisters look forward to playtime

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A delightful book that feels like playing paper dolls with extremely artistic friends, Monday Is Wash Day gives us a snapshot of daily life for Annie and her family. In a time before front-loaders and delicate cycles, before dry-cleaners and steamers, Annie and her sister pitch in—helping their mother fetch the water and turn the wringer, pour the bluing and hang the clothes out to dry. Proud of their hard work, the sisters look forward to playtime.

First-time author MaryAnn Sundby shares her knowledge and enthusiasm for these simpler times. With a calm, descriptive and assured voice, Sundby’s storytelling underpins the “everything in its place” sentiment of the book. The sisters’ gentle teasing brings a comfortable depth to an uncluttered story, while their baby brother’s games add a playful tone.

While Monday Is Wash Day tells a straightforward story, Tessa Blackham’s illustrations are far from simplistic. Beautifully drawn, Blackham’s cut-paper characters gracefully inhabit her paint-and-paper collage world, where no detail is forgotten. With a grandfather clock and hanging wall-portrait silhouettes, the rotary phone and kitchen curtains, soft colors bring us into a house that immediately feels like a home. Most astonishing is the tactile depth and movement on each page. With skillful manipulation, Blackham turns stiff paper into well-worn rugs and floaty dresses, wrinkly jeans and draped tablecloths. Clothes drying on the line nearly flutter in the breeze.

This gentle read-aloud is perfect for multigenerational sharing, and is sure to elicit a few “when I was little” tales of your own. Monday Is Wash Day charmingly captures a memory that, while not necessarily our own, is familiar and cherished—a sentiment that transcends the machinery and trappings of our days.

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Get the Book

Monday Is Wash Day

Monday Is Wash Day

By MaryAnn Sundby, illustrated by Tessa Blackham
Ripple Grove Press
ISBN 9780991386666

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