Sunday, June 9, 2019

Review - Being Edie Is Hard Today

Being Edie Is Hard Today
by Ben Brashares
illustrated by Elizabeth Bergeland
Date: 2019
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 40
Format: e-book
Source: library

This warm and tender story about being yourself--even when you're sad, anxious, or feeling lonely--reminds readers that human connection is essential, tears can heal, and a new day is always coming.

Being Edie is hard today. No one understands. Not her mother. Not her teachers, or the kids at school. If only if she could be an animal! Edie's imagination may be the perfect escape, but she can't run from her feelings forever if she's going to be comfortable in her own skin.

Debut author/illustrator team Ben Brashares and Elizabeth Bergeland offer an entirely original, wry, and poignant take on having a bad day--and trying again the next.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is one strange little picture book! I'm not sure if I really like it. I can see what the author and illustrator were trying to do, but I just don't know if it's something that's going to be embraced by kids (or if it's one of those picture books that's going to be appreciated mainly by adults).

For some reason (which is never explained) Edie's in a funk. She just doesn't feel good. Her mother sends her off to school, and she spends the day imagining she's various animals (presumably because being anything else is better than being herself). She eventually gets herself sent to the principal's office after imagining she was a cheetah and taking down one of her classmates. (All the children appear to be animals. It's hard to tell whether this is their own imagination or if this is just how Edie sees them.) At the end of the day, she still feels awful, and she and her mother have a discussion about sad, crying clouds.

The illustrations are definitely unique. The human characters are faceless for most of the book, but we can see their emotions because of the emojis floating above their heads (I'm not kidding); these disappear once the characters start being drawn with facial features. Edie is always recognizable as such because she has two green leaves stuck on her head, no matter what creature she's imagining she is. The use of colour is interesting, too; the characters are black-and-white line drawings, leaving the colour for various objects and backgrounds.

Like I said, though, I don't know if this will appeal to kids. They'll probably be able to relate to the story, but the illustrations could be confusing. I'm also not sold on the whole crying clouds thing; Edie tells her mom she learned about this in school, but I don't know how scientific it is to be teaching children that clouds have emotions.

Overall... this is just weird. It's not necessarily a bad kind of weird, but this book is definitely not for everyone!

Premise: 3/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall: 3.33 out of 5

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