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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My NO, NO, NO Day, written and illustrated by Rebecca Patterson. Viking, Penguin. 2012. $18.00 ages 2 and up

"On the way home we met the lady who lives next door and she said that Bob was the sweetest thing she'd seen all day, and they she said, "And how is Bella?" I was a long way behind so I had to shout, I HAVE A HURTING FOOT! And Mommy said I could keep my voice down and could I PLEASE stop lying on the sidewalk."

We've ALL had a day like that! It seems that not one thing goes right, and mostly we just want to screech our frustrations out loud!

I am feeling a little like Bella today...overwhelmed! For a little girl, with a baby brother and other social expectations, it's just too much! She's in a bad mood, and that's that! It begins with her baby brother Bob bothering her while she is still in bed. Following that, things go from bad to worse in her sense of the world. An egg for breakfast has no appeal and leads to her being angry enough to refuse to wear shoes. A trip to the market and a ride in the shopping cart lead to a full blown temper tantrum, much to the distress of everyone near the cart. A broken cookie at lunch results in a refusal to play nicely with Sasha and Bob.

Ballet class, meeting the neighbors, supper, bath, bedtime...all are cause for concern and distress. Throughout Bella's very trying day, Mommy has been calm and pretty accepting. At bedtime, she remains so...offering a favorite story, a warm snuggle and the chance to relax. It has an endearing result:

"I yawned again and I said, very quietly,
"Today was a very bad day, Mommy. Sorry."

It's all a mother needs to hear, really. With hopes that life will brighten tomorrow, Bella closes her eyes and makes her way to dreamland.

Rebecca Patterson's illustrations are perfect for helping little listeners see Bella as she succumbs to the frustrations of her day. We watch it as a scene played right in front of us...seeing the differing reactions of all who come in contact with the relentlessly obstinate little girl, gazing upon the many daily and familiar routines of family, sympathising with the mophead with glaring eyes and an persistently open mouth. There is a lot to see and many of the scenes are sure to inspire discussion. I especially loved searching the faces of those watching the many meltdowns...the smirks, the disdain, the concern, the covered ears, and even the humorous smiles.

If you have, or have lived with a toddler, you might find yourself and your family in some of the situations shared. Bad days aren't uncommon; thankfully, they fade into endearing memories of a family's dynamic. Familiar to all and perfect for sharing on 'one of those days', this may just be a story you turn to again and again.

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