Saturday, March 13, 2021

Moments to Remember! A Year of Everyday Wonders by Cheryl B. Klein

First Wake-Up of the Year.

It's Janaury 1. The tree outside the sleepy girl's window is leafless, as dry leaves drift by, blown by a wintry wind. Dad escorts her sleepy older brother, still in his PJs, toward the kitchen, where New Year's waffles are on the menu. Soon her brother is awake and flipping a piece of waffle her way from a spoon, for their First Fuss of the year.

The First Snow follows, with the First Snow Day, and as soon as the two kids suit up, the First Snowball Fight occurs, just before the First Hot Chocolate of the Year.

Soon comes the First Valentine, a heart of red jam on her toast created by Mom. It's winter, so of course there's the First Sneeze, made more significant by the boy who smiles as he offers her his box of tissues, and she has her First Crush. Then, snow becomes rain, and she gets her First Umbrella, which is blown inside out in the March wind, to be followed by her Second Umbrella.

And then come the First Green Buds on the trees, the First Missed Bus, with the 97th Fuss of the year with her brother. There's her First Haircut, given by herself, and almost immediately the Second Haircut at the barber's. Along with warmer weather comes the First Ice Cream Cone, the First Beach Trip, followed immediately by the First Sunburn and the first Splash Battle. There are July 4 First Sparklers, and summer ends with the First Family Reunion and the First Exploding Cola Bottle assembled by the cousins.

All too soon it's that time, with her First New Teacher and Second Crush, the First Golden Leaves, and her Last Costume Cape on Halloween. And before they know it, there is a Snow Day and First Snowman, and another Snow Day, and another, and another, which prompts her 284th Fuss with her brother, and then it's time to sing her First "Silent Night" with the others, followed almost immediately by the Last Week, the Last Day, and the Last Stories and bedtime kiss on the Last Night of the Year/

But there's always the First Day of the next year with waffles, as true to form, her brother launches a chunk off his spoon at her--and perhaps fires off a New First Fuss for the New Year, in Cheryl B. Klein's A Year of Everyday Wonders (Abrams, 2020).

Essential to this book of few words are artist Qin Leng's affectionately humorous illustrations of the two kids making their way through a year made memorable by all the nostalgia-inducing sorts of things that adults fondly recall. Each event is given a page or double-page spread with plenty of details to induce page perusals. Told in vignettes of rather ordinary events, all together this picture book creates a moving but joyful tableau of days that all too soon become years past. Says School Library Journal's starred review, "Leng's effortless watercolor and ink illustrations pair with Klein's spare words on every page, showing the significance of everyday moments as the young girl grows and spends time with her family... Through detailed visual elements, this quietly delightful picture book speaks to the potential treasure of small moments in childhood."

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