Review of At the End of the Day

At the End of the Day At the End of the Day
by Lisl H. Detlefsen; illus. by Lynnor Bontigao
Preschool, Primary    Knopf    40 pp.
4/24    9780593378632    $19.99
Library ed.  9780593378649    $22.99
e-book ed.  9780593378656    $10.99

For many children, the afterschool hours are anything but relaxing, “because now there is homework. Or a piano lesson. Or dance class.” Detlefsen and Bontigao effectively portray this frenetic time between school dismissal and bedtime in an enjoyable picture book featuring a biracial family. The dad, who may be a stay-at-home parent, oversees the three young children’s activities. Mom is in the military and joins her family via a video call in the evening, during which the kids experience the “pang of missing someone who feels too far away.” While the children may be “exhausted…or in a mood” at day’s end, there are also moments of lightheartedness. Dad and the kids enjoy taking a walk at twilight, telling knock-knock jokes, and eating bread fresh from the oven. Mom’s return home makes the family complete but doesn’t put an end to the chaos. Bontigao’s expressive digitally rendered illustrations capture the havoc surrounding the family (e.g., the dog eats a child’s homework, a vase is knocked off a table and shatters), while the text’s soothing rhythm makes for a fine bedtime story.

Pubissue-From the March/April 2024 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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