Sunday has been feeling overworked and underappreciated, so she walks off the job, leaving the remaining days of the week wondering how they’ll fill her shoes. The auditions to find her replacement quickly descend into hilarious chaos as the proposed successors grow more far-fetched; even “UnicornsWithFlashlightsForHornsDay” gets an audience. Monday through Saturday are run ragged from evaluating potential days full of sweets, dogs, hats and superheroes, while in the background, a group of frustrated cats continues their campaign for “Caturday.” How will the days of the week ever find the perfect seventh day?
Bestselling author Brad Meltzer’s eclectic text is peppered with clever asides and loads of playful language as it bounces between narrative and dialogue, delivered energetically via speech bubbles. Pop culture and historical references run the gamut from Shark Week to Elbridge Gerry (James Madison’s vice president, for whom the practice of gerrymandering is named), sure to earn a laugh from readers of every age.
Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat (The Adventures of Beekle) illustrates A New Day with all the energy and bustle of a zany animated movie. Cheerful and colorful, every page is eye-catching, entertaining and full of enticing details. Saturday rocks a beige cardigan that recalls Jeff Bridges’ iconic Big Lebowski character, but its pattern is formed by knitted letter z’s. Children gobble boxes labelled “CAN-D” and “SHOOGR.” The anthropomorphized days are instantly recognizable characters with the appearances and personalities we’d expect from them. Monday has a tie and holds a clipboard; Thursday has a laid-back, almost-end-of-the-week smirk; and Friday wears a Hawaiian shirt, cargo shorts and flip-flops.
While A New Day begins like a rough day at the office and unwinds like a sugar-high explosion, it never loses its sense of purpose and teamwork. An enormously fun read with a heaping side of silliness, A New Day doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s an earnest reminder that, with a little creativity and thoughtfulness, we can make each day a day worth celebrating.