Sometimes days just don’t go as we want them to. It’s a hard thing for grown-ups and kids alike to respond well to having to be flexible or creative with our plans. Enter this book, because there is a book for everything, and this new one is fantastically fun! Sunny-Side Up by Jacky Davis, illustrated by Fiona Woodcock, 2021, is a simple and beautiful story about plans, emotions, creativity, and turning a gloomy day sunny-side up. Have a look.
The illustrations begin the story from the first page turns of the copyright, title and dedication pages; but the text begins with the words “I choose.” The best way to start a day, and perhaps one could argue, a book too. Everyone likes to have their choice in life, and this young girl is starting her day off in the happiest way. She then turns to greet the day outside only to realize it is a gloomy, rainy kind of day and she must stay in… all day.
Well, she loses it. She expresses her frustration physically.
But with some comfort and encouraging words from her dad, she attempts to make the best of the indoor play. Make-believe, block buildings, forts, drawings and imagination all work to keep her distracted and entertained – but she still stops to notice the continual rain coming down.
When lunch and a nap interrupt her new creative plans, her emotions bubble to the surface again. Her dad once again talks her through it and encourages her to voice her frustrations as well instead of acting on them. She chooses again to make the best of it and the rest of the afternoon goes cheerfully while she has quieter indoor activities, waits for her mother to come home and the rain to clear, and finally gets to end the day with favorite activities, the best choices and memories of a day where she found a cheery day in surprising places.
This is such a cheerful book. I am honestly most drawn to it because of Woodcock’s delightful illustrations. Woodcock’s style never fails to fascinate me. From the simplicity, to the texture, to the palette, to the patterns… I just love every decision she makes.
Davis’ words are also charming, feeling very childlike in their narration. Everything about this book is relatable, as an adult and a child. And I adore the idea of thinking about a rainy day as a problem to be turned sunny-side up!
As April closes out and we continue to alternate between those spring showers and spring flowers, I look forward to reaching for this book often to remind us that a day can be turned cheery by our actions and attitudes no matter the weather.