Here in Portland we are back in the rainy part of the year (pretty much October through early June). I admit it becomes all too easy to just want to hang out indoors, laptop at one’s fingertips and a to-do list needing to be checked off. Should I be surprised that my preschooler wants to watch episode after episode of Daniel Tiger? This new book, written and beautifully illustrated by Beatrice Alemagna, follows a young girl as technological boredom inside becomes what she thinks will remain boredom outside. But that boredom is anything but uneventful and unexciting!
Beatrice Alemagna, On a Magical Do-Nothing Day (New York: HarperCollins, 2016), 48 pp.
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Publisher’s description A compelling, magical picture book with “startlingly beautiful words and pictures” (Kirkus). A book to spur imagination and exploring and a break from boredom or screen time. All I want to do on a rainy day like today is play my game. My mom says it’s a waste of time, but without my game, nothing is fun! On the other hand, maybe I’m wrong about that… While reading On a Magical Do-Nothing Day, one gets the sense that the illustrator became lost in her drawings, and as a reader, you will want to do the same.
After losing her connection to a game device (which she brought outside), and through meeting snails, walking among mushrooms, and digging hands in dirt, the young girl comes to see the outside world as something worthy of experiencing, even in the yuckiest of days.
While it is wonderful for parents to get outside with their kids, sometimes parents DO have things they need to work on. On those days, parents can push their kids outside to do what kids are meant to do: explore, play, and get dirty. In our current culture of over-scheduled weeks for kids, On a Magical Do-Nothing Day serves as a reminder that it is okay – really, it is – to have days where kids should let boredom lead the way to discovery and play. And allowing that happens begins with encouragement from parents.