Friday 7 July 2017

ReadItDaddy's Picture Book of the Week - Week Ending 7th July 2017 - "On a Magical Do-Nothing Day" by Beatrice Alemagna (Thames and Hudson)

Our Picture Book of the Week this week sees one of our favourite children's author-illustrators make this whole picture book business look so effortlessly easy...
Beatrice Alemagna truly has a gift for dreaming up the most exquisite and involving stories from seemingly very simple ideas.

In "On a Magical Do-Nothing Day" a little girl embarks on an annual retreat along with her mum to a rather dilapidated old cabin in the middle of nowhere. This is mum's writing retreat (and oh my god, if I had a place like that, I would never leave - let alone only visit once a year).

It's not a lot of fun for the little girl but as long as she has her portable games console she can sort of keep herself amused (though, as she admits, she's really only defeating martian hordes by pressing the same button over and over again!)

Mum decides it's time the little girl went and did something more interesting, so after confiscating the bleeping blipping game machine, the girl is thrust out into the fresh air to find something to occupy herself with (though she does manage to snaffle her console back just in time).

Blip! Bleep! Blip. This is me, aged 13 (though I think it was more likely I'd be playing on a Granstand Invaders machine or Astro Wars than a snazzy Nintendo DS)
Outside there are strange earthy organic smells, fresh air, ugh wet drizzle and a big old world to explore.

This lovely book has been translated into several languages already so it's wonderful Thames and Hudson have also brought it over here in English too. 
So many things to see and discover (like a huge field of gorgeous mushrooms springing up out of the dark earth).

Even though the girl accidentally drops her games console into a pond (oops!) she doesn't seem to mind, as she begins to explore further and further afield.

She can't wait to get back and tell mum all about her expedition!

Hot Chocolate. The best antidote to a damp drizzly day
Beatrice's gentle storytelling and immersive illustrations wrap you up in the sort of idyllic bookworld that you'd love to stay in forever.

We both loved this, Charlotte because she could see herself in the little girl in the story (and I'm pretty sure she wouldn't object to a 'holiday' where you got to do pretty much nothing all day). I loved it because it made me stop and think about what it must be like to have the sort of amazing talent where you can confidently pitch, draw and write a book that's entirely about downtime, doing very little, but somehow weaving it into a sensory adventure.

Utterly divine. We knew we'd like this one.

Charlotte's best bit: When the little girl loses her DS at the bottom of a pond (much to the amusement of inquisitive pond creatures in the end-papers).

Daddy's favourite bit: Beautiful, hugely immersive, mesmerising! Another fabulous book that once again establishes Beatrice as a writer-illustrator the whole world should get to know.

(Kindly supplied for review)

"On A Magical Do-Nothing Day" by Beatrice Alemagna is out now, published by Thames and Hudson.