The following is my review for Mia and the Awful Day, by Bron Whitley. This review was written as for the Children’s Book Review Group over at GoodReads.
Colourful and full of life, Mia and the Awful Day describes Mia and one particularly bad day (as you might have guessed), and how she deals with it. Told simply in verse, the story is light and easily understood, taking the reader through Mia’s day, from morning to night.
The illustrations are very detailed and vibrant, offering lots for young readers to examine and talk about. Each drawing is accompanied by one or more pairs of lines in verse. Writing in verse is difficult, and for the most part, Ms. Whitley succeeds. There are times when the lines read a little stilted, but that’s a minor complaint. From the cover, I was expecting Mia’s day to be a lot worse, so I was a little disappointed to find that it didn’t turn out that way. And by worse, I mean more mishaps infused with humour.
Some pages have more than a pair of written lines per page, describing different activities in different locations (bedroom, kitchen, dinner table). Seeing how alive the illustrations are, I wanted to see an illustration for every pair of lines of verse, instead of grouping sometimes three to five pairs of lines in verse with one picture. Some illustrations deal with this by showing multiple drawings on a page, and that helps a great deal when imagining the scene. Still, the strongest pages of the book show one image with one pair of lines in verse.
There is lots to like in this short, colourful story, and it is bound to please any child learning to read. My only wish is that Ms. Whitley had taken the story further.