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On a Magical Do-Nothing Day
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On a Magical Do-Nothing Day

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  1,132 ratings  ·  234 reviews
Give the gift of a magical do-nothing day!

Thispicture book with startlingly beautiful words and pictures will spur imagination and a break from boredom or screen time. Now a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year!

All I want to do on a rainy day like today is play my game. My mom says it’s a waste of time, but without my game, nothing is fun! On the other hand,
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 12th 2017 by HarperCollins (first published October 15th 2016)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
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 ·  1,132 ratings  ·  234 reviews

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May 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those who enjoy outdoor play and those who don't!
Recommended to Hilary by: Abigail
A child goes to stay in the countryside with their mum. Whilst mum works the child is busy gaming until mum confiscates it. Taking the game anyway the child is forced out into the rain. Accidentally dropping the game in the water the child resorts to looking at the world around themselves for amusement which results in an interesting and enjoyable day despite the weather.

This book reminded me a lot of Tove Jansson's The Dangerous Journey which is a favourite of ours. An enjoyable look at the
David Schaafsma
Dec 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
I decided to read all seven of the books Maria Popova (on twitter) says were the loveliest picture books of 2017:

This is my fourth in the series, a NY Times Picture book of the Year, mainly for its pretty stunning illustrations by the author. A girl wants to stay inside and just play her gameboy. Her mother pushes her outside, where she loses the device and then has to discover nature instead: Snails, mushrooms, mud, sunbeams, running, falling.

"The whole
Aug 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Had Goodreads had a half-star rating system, this book would've gotten 3.5. It's a lovely read surrounded by cute-ish, seemingly old-fashioned illustrations. Regarding the story, the protagonist is a child much alike most of other today's children - computer games are all it takes to keep them busy.

The child, whose gender is not explicitly mentioned in the text (which I love!), one day chooses to go for a walk in the woods, puts on a bright orange raincoat - in complete contrast with the
Elizabeth A
Jan 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: translated, art, kids-ya, 2018
I'm slowly making my way through The 7 Loveliest Children’s Books of 2017 as selected by brainpickings. You can see the list here:

This is the fourth picture book on the list that I've read and it's worth picking up for the art alone. The illustrations are lush and wonderfully textured. The story is about this young kid who is bored, bored bored. After the electronic gadget is accidentally dropped in the water, what is a little person to do? Good thing
Karen Witzler
Dec 05, 2017 rated it liked it
One of the NYT Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2017. A bored modern child is encouraged to go out and play on a rainy day, and after losing their electronic device, are able to open themselves up to the wonders of rain, play, dirt, imagination, and the natural world. The child in the lovely illustrations( that seem to be Pacific rainforesty) may be perceived as either male of female. I actually liked the rendering of the interior of their cozy book -and- junk filled house better than the ...more
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
"Why hadn't I done these things before today?"

Love these illustrations, especially the neon orange raincoat, which feels linked to the neon pink fluffy in Alemagna's THE WONDERFUL FLUFFY LITTLE SQUISHY. Both are objects that are kind of infused with specialness and strangeness, that lead to experiences and observations and connections for the child at the center of each story on their quest for something.

I also liked the way the ending hints at the mother's writing endeavor inside on this rainy
Nature can awaken even the most stodgy of imaginations. In MAGICAL DO-NOTHING DAY, Alemagna's bespectacled, bored child (gender is never addressed, which I LOVE) finds theirs jump-started after they drop their video game in a pond and begin to notice the wonder of the woods around them. Alemagna's prose and illustrations sing with delicious metaphor, and her magical, mystical forest is rich in texture and detail. I dare you to read this book and not want to immediately go traipsing through the ...more
Laura Harrison
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Whimsical, child-like and happy with bold, vibrant colors. Beatrice Alemagna is one of the greatest children's picture book illustrator's of our time. Five sparkling stars all the way!
I’m an advocate for boredom and outdoor play for children. It’s the beginning of creativity. This book is a perfect example of this ideal and healthy experience. The pictures were beautifully done as well.
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Beautifully illustrated story of a boy and his mom who go to a cabin the woods and where he discovers a a world of wonder.
Elizabeth Willis
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Enchanting & grumpy & beautiful & perfect.
Alex  Baugh
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
A young girl and her mother arrive at their cabin on a rainy, rainy day. Not really happy to be there while her mother works, the girl loses herself in her device, playing games and destroying Martians. When her mother takes the device away from her and tells her to go outside, the girl manages to pocket the device so that her mother doesn’t notice. But while jumping from rock to rock in the pond, the device falls int the water. Now what? She is afraid she will be lost without her games. Sitting ...more
Nicki Fairman
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this picture book which would be ideal for a Year 1 or 2 class. It tells the story of a child who just wants to play on their games console but when they finally get outside they get carried away in an adventure of the great outdoors! A captivating story which shows children there is so much to be explored beyond digital screens.
Benjamin Smith
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So many questions to ask and so many different answers. Given my class some time to think about it tonight and come back to me with their ideas tomorrow. Love it and so did they.
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers Looking for Children's Stories That Emphasize Outdoor Play
A young girl, trapped inside on a rainy day, is bored and unhappy playing her video game. Despite this, she resents her mother for taking the game away, and, sneaking off with the device, she heads out into the wet world. Losing the game in a nearby pond, she is at first distraught, until some snails alert her to the beauty of the natural world around her, and she discovers the seductive pleasure of everything from mud to plants to stones...

Originally published in France as Un grand jour de rien
Aaron Becker
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The compositions and story here is perfect. It's everything a picture book should be.
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful story about the magic of the world all around us that we can only see if we really stop and look closely.

A little girl and her mother have left the city (and the girls father) behind to go to their house in the country so mom can write. Its a rainy, miserable day and all the little girl wants to do is sit and play her video game. When mom tries to hide the game the little girl opts to put on her raincoat and go outside to play it in secret. But, she's out of luck when she
Stephanie Day
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
The character within this book was very relatable, a lot of children can feel bored and like they have nothing to do. The child goes from playing on a computer game to going on an adventure and the child running away with their imagination. I also loved the illustrations within the book.
Jan 24, 2018 rated it did not like it
Okay. I had a lot of issues with this book. I'll start with the illustrations just by saying they look like a child did them. If a child did do them, I love them a lot more. If an adult did them (and either accidentally or on purpose) made them look this way, I really could not connect with them at all.

Plot: Preachy much? Childhoods change. There's nothing magical about playing outside more than playing inside, and this book sounded like one of those parents that constantly says, "Back in my
Michael Fitzgerald
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
I like the illustrations (though why did no one notice that in one picture the kid's jacket wasn't colored in at all?), but the story is dumb. Instead of writing a story about a video-addicted kid who goes and explores nature, just give us a book that glorifies nature and imagination. I feel like Marie Hall Ets got this concept better.
Another reviewer notes:
It kinda skirts the line of "ALL ELECTRONICS ARE BAD, GO OUT IN NATURE", but not in a way that turns into a "you kids don't know how to appreciate life" screed. More of a "well the internet went down, what else can we do" kinda way, which I can get behind.
I generally agree -- though felt a little bit like it was trying too hard. Partly I struggled with the child protagonist's narrative voice. I'm not sure if that was a flaw of the author, or (I'm guessing) an intentional
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I really loved this book, but I am partial to books about explorations in nature! I loved the text, which tells the story of a young child who loses her game-boy and must explore the natural world on their own and without the help of electronics. The story pulls the reader into the forest and into magical, hidden natural worlds both above and below the surface. I thought the last scene, where mother and child are simply enjoying a hot drink with each other, not talking about anything or doing ...more
Really beautiful, evocative art, and a great quiet story. The book does a fantastic job of depicting the quiet magic of being out in the woods in the rain, finding snails and climbing trees.

It kinda skirts the line of "ALL ELECTRONICS ARE BAD, GO OUT IN NATURE", but not in a way that turns into a "you kids don't know how to appreciate life" screed. More of a "well the internet went down, what else can we do" kinda way, which I can get behind.
Mar 22, 2018 rated it liked it
A young girl experiences the power of nature (and possibly talking snails) after she drops her electronic video game into the pond. The illustrations are muted and whimsical. The vivid neon orange of the girl's raincoat pops against the backdrop the very subdued background.

Read this book with your child to encourage activities that do not involve screen time.
Heidi Burkhart
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
“Mom sat quietly at her desk,...while I destroyed Martians. Actually I was just pressing the same button over and over.”

I loved this beginning!

This large picture book has rather dark illustrations, but fits the mood of the story. The message to go outside and use one’s imagination through play is always a good reminder for kids who are glued to their electronic gadgets.
Villain E
Oct 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
For some reason, I'm always surprised when a picture book has a modern reference. A girl takes her handheld video game outside so that her mother won't take it away, but she ends up exploring the outside world instead. She's mopey in the beginning but ends up enjoying herself. Her star jacket reminds me of Peter from "The Snowy Day". This isn't bad, but I would have liked less set up and more playing outside.
Jul 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Still not sure how I feel about this one. The book feels magical and I like the point it makes, but at the same time it's a little confusing and there's not much plot. I like the style of the illustrations but not the details. So basically I liked it and didn't at the same time.
Nancy Kotkin
On a rainy day, a child's video game accidentally falls into a cold pond. Without it, the child experiences nature and life as if for the first time.
RH Walters
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Superb drawings of nature and people, with noses and fingernails, leaves and dirt, not to be made pretty but as magical and ordinary as they/we look.
Dec 29, 2018 marked it as read-to-bobby
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Beatrice Alemagna was born in Bologna, Italy in 1973. She graduated from the Istituto Superiore for industrial arts in Urbino, Italy. She has won numerous international awards for her illustration. She now lives in Paris, France, where she works as an author and illustrator as well as a designer of childrens books, posters and collages.