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THINGS TO DO by Elaine Magliaro


by Elaine Magliaro ; illustrated by Cátia Chien

Pub Date: Feb. 7th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-4521-1124-7
Publisher: Chronicle Books

In rhyming text, a child imagines the furtive joys of a range of anthropomorphized concepts and objects.

“Things to do if you are DAWN / shoo away night. / Wash the eastern sky with light. / Wake the sleeping sun: / Rise and shine!” After pecking for breakfast on the lawn, a bird might stretch its wings “on the brightening sky.” Magliaro’s approach is poetic but not particularly systematic, although that makes it winningly childlike. The series of “if you are”s also includes an acorn, a honeybee, a snail, the sun, the sky, an eraser, a pair of scissors, rain, boots, an orb spider, crickets, and the moon. The poetry is graceful, with key words set in uppercase and descriptors in varying typefaces evoking the moods. Chien’s brushy-textured acrylic illustrations convey the breezy feelings that make the musings soar, employing diaphanous layers that lend a fuzzy, dreamlike feel. Effective page compositions vary perspectives to make the images sway in the breeze. The orb spider spread, with the light-skinned dreamer’s face behind a web, is aesthetically striking. Wearing a hat and pants, the child is not identified as a girl, but the patterned endpapers depicting a child in a dress imply gender. A sidekick dog adds another touch of whimsy.

When the day is just waiting be filled with fun, one of the “things to do” may well be to share this with some children.

(Picture book. 4-7)