TITLE: "National Regular Average Ordinary Day"
BY: Lisa Katzenberger, illustrated by Barbara Bakos (Penguin Workshop, June 23) ages 3 to 7, 32 pages, $17.99 hardcover.
STORY: Peter has a problem with boredom. He can't stand it. Lately, he and best friend Devin seem to be playing the same games with the same toys over and over again, and nothing feels special. Fed up, Peter runs home — but not before yelling at Devin that everything is super boring.
After pouting in his room, he comes up with a plan: Every day shall be a special holiday. And he will rate each holiday on a scale of one to 10, using stars.
Peter enjoys Ice-Cream Sandwich Day. On National Underwear Day he wears underpants in place of his pants, shirt and hat. Eventually, though, he runs out of holidays. He tries to make some up, but his inventions are less than successful. He tries combining holidays. That proves ... boring.
He's so bored, he sits in a box to wait for the end of the day. Since he has nothing to do, Peter's imagination takes over. The box becomes a series of fantastic vehicles, conveying him to an epiphany: A day doesn't need to be a holiday to be a good day. Ordinary fun is good fun.
He even apologizes to his buddy.
Katzenberger's website explains that all the funny days Peter celebrates are bonafide "national days." "Celebrating" or "observing" national days, weeks or months in honor of various whatevers is a national regular, average, ordinary pastime.
As any copy editor knows, these are not "holidays" in the strict sense of the word. Anyone can announce that a day has been set aside to observe, be aware of, celebrate. Enterprises — like nationaldaycalendar.com and nationaldayarchives.com — will register these special days (sometimes for a fee) and report them on a calendar, which assists greatly in drawing attention.
Katzenberger's website includes a downloadable PDF with coloring and other children's activities to accompany her delightful story.
Read to Me is a weekly review of short books.