November 2019


By Ian McEwan
Review by
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It’s Saturday, and Ava and her mother are “all smiles.” Ava’s mother works every other day of the week, so this is their “cherished” day of adventure together, as evidenced by the marked-up calendars featured on the endpapers. Unfortunately, things don’t go as planned: Storytime is canceled, and Ava’s mother discovers she has left their tickets to the puppet show at home.

This bighearted ode to parent-child bonding comes from Oge Mora, who was awarded a Caldecott Honor for 2018’s Thank You, Omu! Mora uses repetition to build excitement (“Today will be special. Today will be splendid. Today is SATURDAY!”), as well as to accentuate the book’s themes of togetherness and coping when things go awry. Both mother and daughter often pause to “let out a deep breath” when facing ruined plans. (“Whew!”)

Mother and daughter make for an indelible duo in Mora’s collage illustrations, dominated by cool turquoise, olive and teal hues offset by warm shades of pink. The two are such bodies in motion—the book’s page turns are compelled by curiosity at their next activity, and  “ZOOM!” becomes a refrain as they embark on each adventure—that when they slow down for a hug, it’s all the more touching. Tenderly, Ava tells her mother the day was still splendid because it was time spent with her.

Peek beneath the dust jacket for a scrapbook-style illustration of a photo of mother and daughter, complete with a white Polaroid-esque frame and pieces of tape. It’s clear that, although their plans for the day were thwarted, they formed memories that will last a lifetime. Zoom!

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By Ian McEwan
Nan Talese
ISBN 9780385511803

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