A Wonderful Day!

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The cheerfulness exuded throughout A Wonderful Day! begins on the cover with the title words exclaimed in large font as if excitedly announcing to readers that this is a feel-good book. The cheer continues with a lovely greeting from an unseen narrator, presumably a parent, bidding a child, “Good morning, love! Rise and shine.” The wonderful day revolves around a trip to the zoo. Animals – tigers, lions, elephants, birds, and penguins – receive individual treatment in the lively text (much like during an actual visit to a zoo), noting particular characteristics, such as the slow movement of the elephants and soft sweet bird songs. Such treatment encourages conversation between caregiver and child during the sharing of this book. The unidentified family enjoys a picnic lunch, dessert, and more animal sights before taking a slow walk home followed by bedtime.

In addition to using gender-neutral text, Samulak’s vivid illustrations depict children and adults of different ethnicities and in single- and two-parent configurations all experiencing gladness in spending the day together. By not identifying the main characters at the start, this story is clearly less about who takes a trip to the zoo than what is experienced on this wonderful day. In this way, any reader with any type of family can see herself or himself in the daytrip; the main characters are only identified in one scene walking home.

Unlike other books featuring a visit to the zoo, in this one, nothing dramatic happens. Animals don’t escape and run wild. Children don’t wander off only to be found in an animal cage. On the spreads showcasing the animals, they are individually pictured in a manner suggestive of a slow-moving train carrying visitors from animal to animal through the zoo. This slow pace is not at odds with the joyful text; rather, it may encourage readers to savor the moment and delight in the uniqueness of each animal. Samulak ends just as he started – with loving words for a child and possibly a silent wish that others experience such a day.

Reviewed By:

Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 32 pages
Publisher Pen It!
Publish Date 10-Feb-2015
ISBN 9781633673533
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue January 2016
Category Children's


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