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Saturday.

by Oge Mora

Publishers Weekly Ava’s mother works six days a week, so Saturday, their only day together, “was the day they cherished.” Despite a practiced plan and tickets to a “one-night-only puppet show,” though, this one isn’t going particularly well. The library’s story time is canceled, a car’s splash ruins their salon ’dos, and the park is too noisy and crowded to be peaceful. But they face each setback the same way: “They paused, closed their eyes, and—whew!—let out a deep breath,” then Ava’s mother reassures her that “today will be special. Today will be splendid. Today is SATURDAY!” Carefully paced repetition structures the family’s experiences, and brilliantly colored collages by Mora (Thank You, Omu!) convey their trip through the city with elegant energy; their figures dance across the pages, and sometimes the words do, too. Scenes at the family breakfast table, inside the salon, and at the riotously busy park are filled with detail that rewards second looks. When they encounter the worst disaster of all—this one is Ava’s mother’s fault—it’s Ava’s turn to reassure her mom, and she finds special words to do it. The family handles the stress of dashed expectations in a way that acknowledges disappointment while conveying the buoyancy of resilience and the joy of their bond. And a delightful coda may inspire readers to share the inventive way they salvage their day. Ages 4–8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.)

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School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2—In her second picture book, Caldecott honoree Mora (Thank You, Omu!) continues to delight and impress with her unique collage style and storytelling tone. In this story, Ava cherishes the one day each week she gets to spend with her working mother. They fill every Saturday with fun activities, until one day everything goes wrong. Storytime at the library is cancelled, their new hairdos get wet, and the park is too crowded. All the while, Ava's mom encourages her, and repeats a mantra that their Saturday will still be special and splendid. But when she forgets their tickets to a special puppet show, it is Ava who reassures her mom that their day isn't ruined, because they spent it together. The story is endearing, and accurately portrays the busy weekends of many families with working parents. Mora's repeated phrases and onomatopoeia ("Zoom! Off they went") lend themselves enjoyably to being read out loud. Her signature collage work using painted paper, patterned paper, and book clippings, is impeccable. Though appearing simple, these are incredibly precise scenes, with no piece of paper out of place. The pages contains mostly blue and green backgrounds, and Ava stands out with her warm brown skin and bright pink tank top. VERDICT A story that weaves mindfulness, appreciation of family time, and the lesson that parents are human, into a gorgeously produced package. Perfection.—Clara Hendricks, Cambridge Public Library, MA

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Kirkus Caldecott Honoree Mora (Thank You, Omu!, 2018) returns in this sophomore offering about a mother and daughter's special Saturday.Young protagonist Ava and her mother love their Saturdays together. Ava's mother works, "Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday," so Saturday is their special day. The pairs' smiles and Ava's outflung hands convey excitement, while realistic details such as Ava's mother's sleep scarf add authenticity. In vignettes, Mora's collage art chronicles some of their past adventures and shows them performing various actions in a circle of repeated figures (clearly intended to convey the passage of time), preparing for their day. Discerning readers may spy something left behind as they head out. Things start to go awry almost immediately, but Ava's mother is full of reassurances, and they have a strategy for dealing with disappointment: pause, close their eyes, breathe deep, and move on. But after the biggest disappointment comes at the end of a daylong string of them, it's Ava who brings comfort to her mother in a touching moment that may bring tears to readers' eyes. Though not a preachy book, it offers lessons that are both beautiful and useful. Ava and her mother are black, with skin of different hues of browns, while other characters are an array of skin tones. How wonderful: a book with both racial diversity and class diversity that feels authentic.Special and splendid. (Picture book. 4-9) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list Saturdays are special. Ava's mother works every other day, but on her only day off, mom and daughter do all sorts of fun things go to story hour, get their hair done, lounge in the park and this Saturday is extra special because they have tickets for a one-night-only puppet show. But this Saturday gets off to a bad start and rolls downhill: the story hour is cancelled; their freshly done hair gets drenched by a puddle as a car speeds by; and worst of all, they arrive at the puppet show without their tickets. Ava's mom is heartbroken, but the little girl tells her not to worry: all Saturdays, even this one, are special "because I spend them with you." The simple yet heartfelt story tugs at the emotions, but it's the paper collage artwork that really packs a punch. Created with acrylic paints, china markers, patterned paper, and print clippings, the bright illustrations are inventively conceived and full of motion just the right vehicle for bringing this Black mother-daughter duo to vibrant life. Readers will get a real sense of their bond, which is defined by their love, not their circumstances. A sweet ending ties a bow on the story.--Ilene Cooper Copyright 2019 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.