Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

In this warm and tender story by the Caldecott Honor-winning creator of Thank You, Omu!, join a mother and daughter on an up-and-down journey that reminds them of what's best about Saturdays: precious time together.

Today would be special. Today would be splendid. It was Saturday! But sometimes, the best plans don't work out exactly the way you expect....

In this heartfelt and universal story, a mother and daughter look forward to their special Saturday routine together every single week. But this Saturday, one thing after another goes wrong--ruining storytime, salon time, picnic time, and the puppet show they'd been looking forward to going to all week. Mom is nearing a meltdown...until her loving daughter reminds her that being together is the most important thing of all.

Author-artist Oge Mora's highly anticipated follow up to Caldecott Honor Thank You, Omu! features the same magnificently radiant artwork and celebration of sharing so beloved in her debut picture book.

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Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

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.)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

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

Copyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

* "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."—Booklist, starred review
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date
October 22, 2019
BISAC categories
JUV039050 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Emotions & Feelings
JUV013060 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | Parents
JUV011010 - Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | United States - African-American
JUV023000 - Juvenile Fiction | Lifestyles | City & Town Life
JUV014000 - Juvenile Fiction | Girls & Women
Library of Congress categories
Mothers and daughters
Adaptability (Psychology)

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