Orlando on Thursday written and illustrated by Emma Magenta
I really, really like the idea of a picture book that shows a (very young) child's day in a realistic way. I think it is important for children to see their days, their lives depicted in important ways. One of my absolute (out of print) favorites is Janet and Alan Ahlberg's The Baby's Catalog, inspired by their infant daughter's love of the catalogues that came in mail. Emily Jenkin's (Toys Go Out) wonderful What Happens on Wednesdays, illustrated by Lauren Castillo.
What happens on Wednesdays is a lot like what happens on Thursdays for Orlando. Mom goes off and Dad takes over. It is so wonderful to see picture books depicting the shared parenting that, I think, is so common these days. In all the families I have known over past 17+ years (mine included), Dad has taken the kids on his day off while Mom, wether she works or not, gets some alone time, too.
Orlando narrates his story, telling us, "Thursday is the day Mami has to be busy in town all day. I feel sad. I don't like when she's gone all day. Then I remember that Thursday is the day that Papi stays home with me. I start to feel a little bit better."
Orlando and Papi play at home for a while, then head out to have an adventure. Another magnificent thing about children spending time alone, individually with each parent, is the opportunity to benefit from the various interests that mom and dad each have. I am not a nature gal by any stretch, but my husband is an Eagle Scout who loves taking the kids traipsing through creeks and hiking up mountains, which is great by me! Papi bathes and feeds Orlando and gets him ready for bed, which is when Mami comes home! They tuck him into bed and "read me funny stories with special sound effects." Then, Orlando falls asleep happy because, "the best part of Thursdays is when Papi, Mami and me are all home together!"
Emma Magenta does a great job of capturing the perspective of a three or four year old while at the same time throwing in some of the complexities (that can sometimes spark tantrums) like the fact that Mami makes a different lunch than Papi. Orlando experiences his emotions, his sadness and happiness, and ends up just where he (and listeners) want to be - between his parents. The scribbly, collage-y illustrations might throw off mom and dad, but I guarantee you that toddlers will tune into them right away. This book is PERFECT for kids between the ages of 3 and 5!
Emma Magenta has also illustrated a book by fellow Aussie (and famous, award winning actor, singer and new mom) Toni Colette! However, I don't think Planet Yawn is available in the states just yet...