One Busy Day by Lola M. Schaefer, illustrated by Jessica Meserve
The siblings from One Special Day return a little bit older in this follow-up picture book. Mia wants to play with her older brother Spencer, but he’s too busy playing on his own. So Mia starts being busy herself. She paints pictures, dances, explores caves, makes mudpies, and builds castles. Slowly as Mia plays, Spencer starts joining in with her, until they are playing together side-by-side. That’s when Mia’s castle needs defending from a dragon! And the two played together until bedtime.
Such a positive approach to getting an older sibling to play. The two children don’t have any negative interactions, it’s just that Spencer is simply not interested in playing with Mia right then. This gives Mia the space to react without anger, instead enticing Spencer to join her. I always appreciate a book that shows no fighting between siblings but also isn’t the picture of perfection either. This picture book has a much more complex approach to sibling interactions and it’s a welcome change.
Meserve’s illustrations add a warm richness to the story. As Mia plays, she does something in real life then the page is turned and you can see what she is doing in her imagination. So on one page she is making mudpies and on the next they are grand cakes and pies. Empty boxes become pirate treasure chests. The freezer is an icy mountain. The images of the backyard are filled with details just like Mia’s imagination. So there is no lack of lushness in reality, especially when Spencer plays too.
A positive and affirming look at the joy of playing together as siblings and the power of imagination. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from library copy.