Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

A Day So Gray

A friend with a bright outlook turns a gloomy day into a smorgasbord of colorful detail in this cozy picture book from writer Marie Lamba (Green Green: A Community Gardening Story) and illustrator Alea Marley (The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh).

Gazing out a wooden window frame, a little girl with a straight blonde bob and pale, pink-spotted cheeks proclaims, "This day is so gray." At her side, another girl with a head of dark, smudged curls and a brown, ruddy-cheeked face begs to differ. After venturing out into the snowfall, the second girl splashes through a puddle and points out the "deep soft brown" of the tree branches and the silver and blue of the water. Unconvinced, the first girl declares a field "blah brown" and the snow "boring white." Her lighthearted counterpart corrects the complaints with an artist's eye for the subtlety of natural colors. Her buoyant charm slowly loosens the other girl's stiff posture and helps her relax into a comforting evening and a sunset the former naysayer describes as "purple and tangerine."

Lamba's words encourage readers to seek out the tiny scraps of beauty that brighten life's doldrums. Through a combination of scanned and digital illustrations, Marley creates an enchanting soft-focus winterscape drenched in light. Although the brief text and clear illustrations have definite group read-aloud potential, sharing A Day So Gray's subtle beauty as a colors look-and-find exercise could create a lovely one-on-one bonding time for caregivers and children ages four through seven. Whenever a day is gray and lonely, this cozy reminder to look on the colorful side will invite smiles and lift spirits. --Jaclyn Fulwood, youth services manager at Main Branch, Dayton Metro Library