In which Annie (high school teacher, mother of two young girls and a younger boy) and her aunt Deborah (children's bookseller, mother of two young women in their 20s) discuss children's books and come up with annotated lists.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

No no no: one of those days

Dear Annie,

I hear your own family of origin has found you The Mother Whale and several other entries in Edith Thacher Hurd's mother animals series for a Mother's Day gift.  Showing that it's never too late to give one's children great picture books.

I've been thinking about a much less lyrical book for Mother's Day -- but it sure is entertaining. 
My No No No Day!
just came out last week. When I ordered it, I hadn't thought of it as appropriate for the coming holiday, but it very thoroughly evokes a certain kind of day in the parent-child relationship.  Bella, the cross and bellowing star of the story, has a day in which nothing goes right: it's a sort of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day for the pre-school crowd.  A good deal of Alexander's misery is inflicted on him by the outside world, but in Bella's case, she starts out prickly and can't stop hating everything.  The first injustice wreaked on her is that she wakes up and discovers her baby brother not just in her room, but licking her jewelry, which is strewn across the floor.  "Much of the charm of this book is that it is too weird to be made up," says one reviewer.

Everything is wrong: yucky eggs for breakfast, peas for dinner that are too hot, a bath too cold.  My favorite line, accompanied by the body language of the cover (her mouth is always grimly cavernous) is, "BALLET IS TOO ITCHY!"  There's a full-blown tantrum before bed, followed by a happier, hopeful ending.  One has the impression it's just a bad day for Bella -- she's clearly a child of strong feelings, but they can be positive too.

The book reminds me of Grumpy Bird, another woke-up-in-a-rotten-mood book.  Bella is more intense, but it definitely gives the opportunity for some great conversations with the pre-schooler in one's life.  I laughed through much of it, but it also brought back a host of emotional memories of those days. 

I hope the days in your household rarely make it all the way to a triple NO.



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