An Ordinary Day

S. & S./Beach Lane. Mar. 2020. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481472623.
PreS-K–An ordinary day is filled with extraordinary events. On an ordinary street, two unassuming houses are each expecting a visitor. Soon, two cars pull up and a man and woman step out. They both have stethoscopes around their necks and carry a small bag. They each softly knock on doors and are let inside. In the house on the left, a family is saying goodbye to a beloved pet. In the house on the right, a family is welcoming a new child. Outside on the street, life continues. There is little to suggest that momentous things are taking place inside. Arnold’s gentle, poetic text highlights the remarkably similar rhythms that grief and happiness bring, while Vukovic’s illustrations reinforce this with delicate and often symmetrical mixed-media illustrations. One of the families is multiracial, the other family has dark skin and the father wears a cochlear implant. Cool and warm watercolor washes fill the pages as the story shifts perspective back and forth between the two scenes. On some pages, the soft, calm images seem to float above the bright white background. As the story ends, the text returns to the refrain, “It was an ordinary day in the neighborhood…Like all days, and all neighborhoods, everywhere.”
VERDICT Emotionally affecting and beautifully told, this book deserves a place on most library shelves.

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