Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Monday, November 4, 2019

Gratitude-An Attitude

It's name comes from the Roman god of agriculture and harvest, Saturn or Saturnus.  By definition it is the seventh day of the week, coming between Friday and Sunday.  It is considered a part of the weekend; those forty-eight hours when the five previous days of work or school are completed.  It is a time for a more leisurely pace or, at the very least, a day dedicated to doing exactly what you choose to do, alone or with family or friends.

The demands of watching the clock and keeping to a set schedule are hopefully put aside for most people on Saturday.  In Saturday (Little, Brown And Company, October 22, 2019) written and illustrated by Caldecott Honor Medalist (Thank You, Omu) Oge Mora, readers understand the true worth of this day.  More importantly, through this composition of meticulously chosen words and a signature collage style, we connect on a personal and emotional level with this girl and her mother during their shared hours on this Saturday.

This morning Ava and her mother were all smiles.  It was SATURDAY!

Ava's mother was committed to her job on the other six days of the week, but Saturday, each and every one, was for Ava and her mother.  They loved this day!  On Saturday they could go to the public library for storytime, go to the beauty salon for new hairdos, and enjoy a quiet picnic in the park.

This Saturday was more highly anticipated then most.  They had tickets for a puppet show only being performed once on this particular day.  Their hearts were full of joy as they left their home to begin their expected adventures.  BUT . . .

For every one of their planned stops, there were surprises.  To begin storytime at the public library was cancelled.  Mother and daughter had a routine they performed to deal with setbacks.  It was three steps.  With those completed, they continued with hope.

With three disappointments behind them they arrived, finally, at the puppet show.  Something important was forgotten.  As her mother voiced her failure in defeat, Ava did what they always did.  She then uttered the most loving words anyone wishes to hear.  At home without the library, beauty salon, park or theater, Ava and her mother created their own happiness.

The first time reading the words written by Oge Mora, I could feel my eyes welling with tears.  She brings us into the story initially by binding us to what we know.  We know about working five or more days a week.  We know about the significance of being able to share hours with people we love when we are not working or going to school.  She further elevates the anticipation by telling us what Ava and her mother are going to do.

Repetition of three key phrases before and then after each disappointment stress the meaning of this day to a parent and her daughter.  It establishes a storytelling cadence as does the three steps they perform after their unsuccessful visits to the library, beauty salon, park and theater.  The placement of dialogue within the narrative makes it more intimate for readers. Here is a passage.


. . .their hairdos were ruined.

"Oh no!" Ava sobbed.
"Our dos!" boo-hooed Ava's mother. (page turn)

They paused, closed their eyes,
and---whew---let out a deep breath. . . .  

The front of the dust jacket displays the total bliss Ava and her mother feel on any given Saturday, but especially this Saturday.  And I ask you, don't we all feel this way on Saturday?  Their hearts brimming with happiness are seen in their expressions and body movements.  The chosen color palette is soothing but conveys utter elation.

To the left, on the back, the pale green shade on the front crosses over the spine and becomes the canvas.  In a circle around one of the most touching lines in the story, we see Ava and her mother in four positions signifying their intended activities.  On the book case Oge Mora has used textured paper in purple, almost like the cover of an album.  In the center on the front is a photographic representation of Ava and her mother.  It is held in place by two pieces of tape.

The opening and closing endpapers feature off to the side a piece of paper with the word NOTES at the top.  Ava has listened the highlights of her Saturday Wish list.  Opposite this list is a thirty-day calendar.  Ava has crossed out each day from the 1st to the 29th.  She has labeled some of the activities that happened during the month particularly on Saturdays.  On this Saturday, the 30th,  puppet show!!! is written in crayon.  She has placed a gold star there.

In an About This Book section Oge Mora states:

The collages for this book were created with acrylic paint, china markers, patterned paper, and old-book clippings.

She begins her visual story on the double-page picture for the title page.  Ava's mother stands in her bedroom doorway, holding a cup of a steaming beverage as Ava gets out of bed.  With each page turn we find ourselves enchanted by double-page pictures, a group of four small images over two pages, full-page pictures, and single page pictures with wide framing around carefully created artwork.  The shift in background colors indicates the emotional state of the characters perfectly.

One of my many, many favorite pictures is when Ava and her mother, with their beautiful new hairdos, are leaving the beauty salon.  They are nearly dancing down the street they are so thrilled with how they look and feel.  Both have their eyes closed in contentment with their arms outstretched and one of their legs raised.  Careful readers will note, however, the placement of a large puddle right in front of Ava and close to the edge of the sidewalk.

Every emotional up and down in this book Saturday written and illustrated by Oge Mora, has been experienced by readers of all ages. What we can appreciate are the expressions of love between this parent and child.  We might all want to start making a Saturday wish list and having a routine in place when faced with disappointment.  This book is all about finding a silver lining when it appears as if there is none.  I highly recommend this title for your personal and professional collections.

To discover more about Oge Mora and her other work, please follow the link attached to her name to access her website.  Oge Mora has accounts on Instagram and Twitter.  At the publisher's website is a wonderful video chatting with Oge Mora about one image, a double-page picture, in this title.  Oge Mora is showcased at School Library Journal, We Need Diverse Books and at author, reviewer and blogger Julie Danielson's site, Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast talking about this title.  If you would like to hear a bit of the book read aloud visit this link posted by HatchetteAudio.

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