Monday, August 29, 2011

The Sorely Trying Day by Russell and Lillian Hoban

Father has had a sorely trying day. When he comes home from work all he wants is a little peace and quiet. But instead he finds the cat on top of the grandfather clock, the dog barking up a storm, and his four children yelling and hitting each other. All of them are ignoring their mother. As the story of what happens comes out, all of the children are punished for their various misdeeds. Everyone is looking for someone to blame, and no one is happy. Is there no end to this sorely trying day?

The first word that popped into my head while reading this book was ‘darling.’ The children, while clearly not perfect, enchanted me with their sailor suits and hair ribbons. And the punishment for behaving so badly to each other? They will not be allowed to press flowers in their scrapbooks for a week. But flower-pressing is their favourite activity! I loved the circular way the story is told, both with the children who go around and round over who is to blame, but also in the way that the end mirrors the beginning. These are good children at heart who just happened to be having a bad day. I’m deeply grateful for The New York Review Children’s Collection for republishing this story and bringing it back into print.

Find it at IndieBound.

Read it with:
Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban
Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard
The Backward Day by Ruth Krauss
All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst

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