Mothers and children worldwide celebrate the pleasures of putting out laundry and taking it in.
In a child’s voice (but an adult’s language), the narrator begins with readying the laundry on “washing day,” “for the laughing birds, / the insects floating by, // the neighborhood dogs / barking out their stories, // and the clothespins.” Once the sunshine has filled “everything on the clothesline / with smells, stories, and wind,” garments and blankets are brought inside to fold, stack and cover the bed—with a comforting smell of sunshine to counter nighttime frets. Beginning with a view of two children standing on a world map, Anderson’s paint, fabric and paper collages suggest but don’t specify locations with visual cues like a screen of green bamboo, a desert background, glimpses of apartment-house walls, and figures in blue jeans or skirts and dresses with bright floral or kente patterns. The laundry is likewise generic, and all the underwear has been hung out of sight. On spreads with single-page illustrations, contrasting shifts of place or season make visual transitions abrupt, and apparently nowhere in the world are fathers involved in laundry.
Still, when it comes to domestic chores, hanging laundry is about as universal as it gets, and the activity is presented here as an intimate, positive experience for parent and child to share. (Picture book. 5-8)