Best Day Ever / Invent-a-Pet

Here are a couple of recent titles from Sterling Children’s Books

Best Day Ever
Michael J. Armstrong and Églantine Ceulemans

It’s the last day of summer and William has just one goal on his list left: have the most fun ever, and he has a handy fun-o-meter invention to help in his assessment of attempts.

What he hasn’t bargained for though is the non-stop interruptions by his neighbour Anna, she of the incredible imagination. As he pursues his fun-finding in trampolining, art

and scooting, she subverts his every effort by her messy, noisy creative play that scores high on William’s fun-o-meter, in contrast to his own activities.

Eventually however, the boy realises that perhaps a bit of silly, messy, possibly even dangerous play might be the way to go;

and thus with William way out of his comfort zone, a fantastic day ensues and an unlikely friendship between two contrasting characters is forged. Not to mention that a satisfying green light from a certain fun-o-meter also results.

Debut picture book author, Armstrong’s story is a great reminder of the importance of having permeable constructs, and of accepting and celebrating difference.

In her mixed media art Églantine Ceulemans adroitly shows how Anna’s zany, exuberant world gradually impinges upon the matter-of-fact notions of William. There’s a wealth of amusing details, not least the silent, bit-part playing animals to which William seems completely oblivious.

Vicky Fang and Tidawan Thaipinnarong

Katie wants a pet, but not anything ordinary like a goldfish: her pet must be something extraordinary.

One day she finds a strange-looking machine in her living room, put there by her mum with a note saying ‘Hope this helps in your quest to find an extraordinary pet!


Her first input of a football, a blade of grass and a carrot result in a fluffy green creature– cute, but not what she wants.

Several tries later, she still hasn’t got her desired result, although the house is rather inundated with pets. Time to go back to the drawing board and work out how the machine works, decides Katie.

She selects three new items and starts again. After some time she discovers the correlation between size, colour and the third variable. Is this her eureka moment? Not quite.

With persistence, will Katie succeed in her problem solving task and create the pet of her dreams? Perhaps, but first she has to think of a way to deal with the large number of pets she’s already created …

What a fun way to introduce the process of science problem solving – great for a primary classroom STEM collection. Youngsters will love the pets in Tidawan Thaipinnarong’s comical illustrations and her endpapers are a treat too.

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