Review: One Special Day by Lola M. Schaefer
One Special Day
By Lola M. Schaefer
Illustrated by Jessica Meserve
Here’s what I will not do in this review:
- Discuss the saturation of new sibling books out there.
- Relay my hesitations when approaching such books due to excessive sentimentality reasons.
Why am I avoiding those topics? Because I realized they don’t matter when discussing One Special Day. Lola M. Schaefer has delivered a well-crafted bit of genuine, heartfelt storytelling. Few picture books have impressed me in 2012 as much as this.
The story begins wordlessly, with the reedy Spencer waving to his parents as they drive away. But this isn’t a sad bon voyage – Spencer is staying with his grandma, where the picturesque meadows seem to extend forever. There are a number of different sides to the boy – strength, speed, humor – but when his parents return with a new sibling, Spencer shows that he can be gentle too.
It isn’t often I do a double take at illustrations, but as soon as I saw the work of Jessica Meserve, I had to find out how they were created. Digital oil pastel. That’s a new one to me, but the results are lovely – remarkably vibrant and rich. What brings this book to the next level, however, is the interplay between artwork and text. The decision to open with a wordless two page spread, allowing the artwork to begin the story was a wise one. It’s beautifully executed. As the story progresses, there are pages where the illustrations finish sentences. This invites reader interaction and makes for a more unified final product.
As far as new siblings books go – heck, as far as picture books go – this is a standout. Be sure to add it to your collection.
Review copy from library
Also reviewed by Kid’s Book Blog.
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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