- A Perfect Day by Sarah S. Brannen
Brannen, Sarah S. A Perfect Day; written and illus. by Sarah S. Brannen. Philomel, 2020 [32p] Trade ed. ISBN 9781984812841 $17.99 E-book ed. ISBN 9781984812858 $10.99 Reviewed from galleys R 2-4 yrs
A happy gull sits on a rock in the sea, extolling the virtues of the day, but a crab begs to differ: "It's not perfect." The gull continues to beam with enjoyment, pushing back on every complaint the crab offers. When the crabbing drives the gull to a different barnacle-covered rock, though, it becomes clear the "rocks" are actually two whales, and a quick burst from the blowhole sends the crab overboard. He's then picked up by the gull, and the two resume their hangout with the crab perched on the gull's back ("It's not perfect. But it's good enough"). While the crisis doesn't seem all that critical—a crab that made it out to a distant ocean rock presumably isn't in danger in the ocean—the dialogue-only text is easy to read aloud or alone, and the dynamic of cheerful friend vs. gloomy friend is a classic one. Brannen's line and watercolor art is clean, simple, and sunny, with wide swathes of sea and sky dominating most spreads, while expressions are distinct yet craftily minimal. Miyares' Pardon Me (BCCB 7/14) is a more enjoyably shocking rock-isn't-a-rock story, but younger kids new to the trope will find the twist and the banter enjoyable.