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ODE TO A BAD DAY by Chelsea Lin Wallace


by Chelsea Lin Wallace ; illustrated by Hyewon Yum

Pub Date: April 18th, 2023
ISBN: 978-1-79721-080-3
Publisher: Chronicle Books

It’s only fitting that a day this bad gets its own lyrical poem.

“Oh you Bad Morning.” Right from the start, a child who presents as Asian with straight black hair, peachy skin, and dots for eyes can tell it’s going to be a bad day. On most double-page spreads, rhyming lines in irregular meter convey the sensibility and grandeur of the traditional ode, glorifying a different aspect of the bad day. The verso describes the outrage (“Oh Too Much Milk in My Cereal, / soggy, squishy! Boggy, mushy! / You turned my crispy into gushy!”), while the recto declaims the lament (“Oh you Too Much Milk”). It is impressive how many despairing, outraged, and sad expressions Yum is able to give the young protagonist as the day progresses through each indignity, including itchy clothes, being late, dealing with a line cutter, and getting the hiccups. One particularly poignant illustration sees the child prone on the floor of a supermarket with one knee raised: “Oh you Boredom.” Not every rhyme is perfect, but the overall sentiment comes through loud and clear, and Yum’s soft watercolor and colored pencil artwork is a wonderful foil for the negative feelings. This is especially true as the day draws to a close, a new day is within sight, and more hopeful thoughts take over. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

This is one bad day readers won’t mind reliving again and again.

(Picture book. 4-8)