Review of Today

Today Today
by Gabi Snyder; illus. by Stephanie Graegin
Preschool, Primary    Wiseman/Simon    40 pp.
1/24    9781665924856    $18.99
e-book ed.  9781665924863    $10.99

A lesson in mindfulness is couched in a cozy story about a much-anticipated visit with extended family. At first, the child protagonist struggles with a seemingly interminable “today”: “Today stretches long…when you’re counting weeks to summer, counting days to your trip, counting hours until you’ll see Pop-pop and your cousins again.” With these lines, Snyder cleverly initiates a second-person narration to align readers with the protagonist. Then, when the child’s parents finally stop their “yak-yak-yak[ing] with the neighbors,” the family drives to a picturesque lake house, where Pop-pop, cousins, and other relatives await. Graegin’s rendering of the peaceful, idyllic setting and her matter-of-fact depiction of an affectionate, multiracial family are warm and welcoming. Now time races by as the child frolics in the lake with cousins and later watches fireflies dot the yard, visually echoed by a string of fairy lights. A wasp sting is the only trouble spot to mar this happy, fleeting day, but grownups and sympathetic cousins ease the child’s pain. Fireworks cap off “the today you’ve been waiting for,” and then, staving off sorrow at book’s end, closing text reminds the child and readers alike that our favorite days can continue as “a memory you can visit again and again.” Thoughtful back matter offers tips for “appreciating the here and now” and using positive memories to ease anxiety and worries.

From the January/February 2024 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Megan Dowd Lambert
Megan Dowd Lambert

Megan Dowd Lambert created the Whole Book Approach storytime model in association with The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art and is a former lecturer in children’s literature at Simmons University, where she also earned her MA. In addition to ongoing work as a children’s book author, reviewer, and consultant, Megan is president of Modern Memoirs, Inc., a private publishing company specializing in personal and family histories. 

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