The author’s note makes the premise of this picture book clear: “Every Friday, my son, Michael, and I have breakfast together at the corner diner. Since he turned three, this has been our special time together and our favorite day of the week. I hope that you, too, will start a little tradition like ours.” By the time the story is done, readers will wonder: what tradition should we start?

The language is simple, the words few. The book begins with “Friday is my favorite day,” and that’s about what the reader can expect from the following pages as well: the text doesn’t wow the reader with interesting vocabulary. No rhyme catches the ear and propels the story pell-mell to its breathless conclusion. It’s simple and straightforward and brief. You’d think that it would be a book to pass over.

But it’s not. Its simplicity is its charm.

Paired with the illustrations, the simple text dons a retro chic mantle. On the front cover (and throughout the story), the father wears a blue checked suit, and the same checked pattern adorns the back cover. Buildings are simple – solid colors with tone on tone bricks periodically breaking the solidity, much like the father’s suit, making for a simple yet engaging illustration of city life. While set in a big city, presumably New York City since that is where Yaccarino lives, the pages are populated by people from an earlier time, matching the tone set by the illustrations. A man looking like a milkman drives a truck; a hippie with a bongo drum and flip-flops walks by. People are friendly, with a winking doorman, a waving newspaper man, and waitress who knows them well enough to say, “See you next Friday!” This is a world you’d want to live in.

While the book tells of a father and son who carve out special time for themselves every Friday morning, the story is less about specifics (it never shows them eating breakfast) and more about a general feeling. The two walk together, taking in the people and the world around them. Others may be busy building buildings, opening shops, walking dogs, or hurrying on their way to work, but for this pair – our pair – their togetherness is what matters. Whether they’re ogling their own interests (a toy shop for the son, a sporting goods store for the father), mailing a letter, or observing life around them, the father-son relationship takes precedence over all. At various points throughout the story, they hold hands, and this is how the books hits its sense of sweetness: for a father and son, it’s enough to hold onto each other and this tradition.

Whether you are a father or mother, son or daughter, this book will hit a sweet spot, and its simplicity appeals to very young readers (my eleven-month-old has liked this book for months!) to older readers who value time with those important to them. Love underpins all of it, and the reader knows that the other six days of the week are filled with love, too.

******************************************************************************
Yaccarino, Dan. Every Friday. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2007. Print.

Advertisements