Operation Photo Op: Picture Day Perfection by Deborah Diesen
IT'S FINALLY PICTURE DAY. THE DAY THAT WILL BE FROZEN IN TIME FOREVER.
I HAD PLANNED FOR MONTHS. THIS WAS GOING TO BE THE YEAR OF THE PERFECT SCHOOL PICTURE.
But the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley, says poet Robert Burns, which translated means that things can always go to heck in a handbasket, and that's just what happens to this young photo op opportunist.
He wakes up with a world-class case of bedhead. His favorite shirt, recovered from the bottom of the laundry hamper, is wrinkled and stained, and that's before Mom's "Picture Day Breakfast" pancake syrup squooshes all over it. He gets in trouble with the bus driver and has to sit in the solitary seat right behind him, which doesn't improve his mood or his smile.
With his scowl already in place, the school day doesn't improve his countenance. It seems his mom has checked "Traditional Grey" for the background of his photo. Who doesn't look better surrounded by battleship gray, right? "Smile Practice" in homeroom is an irresistible opportunity to get in trouble for our little lad, but he is out of timeout just in time for Art, where the teacher has, in a moment of brilliant lesson planning, chosen this day as the one for learning to use tempera paints, with predictable results. And when the class finally arrives for their photo shoot, the complimentary combs run out before they get to him, so his bedhead set is still intact. Even the stool he has to pose on is iceberg cold and hard.
Nothing is going according to plan.
Or is it?
EVERYTHING THAT HAD HAPPENED RUSHED THROUGH MY MIND. THE MONSTROUS MESSES, THE MUDDLES, AND THE MIX-UPS.
THE WHOLE DAY, FROM THE MOMENT I HAD ROLLED OUT OF BED, HAD GONE... PERFECTLY. EVEN BETTER THAN I HAD PLANNED.
Perfect. Our boy just has to smile at the fortuitous execution of his grand scheme.
Author Deborah Diesen and artist Dan Santat have a lot of fun messing with our minds in their latest, Picture Day Perfection (Abrams, 2013). Sympathy for this little school picture sufferer quickly turns to laughs as our photo subject's attempts at photo sabotage come out a mother's dream of picture day perfection. Santat's patently goofy illustrations are kid pleasers par excellence, sure to stir up their due shares of giggles with the surprise ending.
MOM SAYS IT'S MY BEST PICTURE EVER.
BUT JUST WAIT TILL SHE SEES NEXT YEAR'S!
"Santat's Photoshop illustrations have a polish that heightens the immediacy of the moment. This tale of a young Wisenheimer is plenty crafty and features a satisfyingly fitting requital," remarks Kirkus Reviews.
Labels: School Stories (Grades K-3)