Papa is an elderly creature of habit: every day begins with a cup of tea, tending to his plants, tidying up and getting dressed to ride the bus into town. His regular walk takes him by familiar stores and lands him at the same restaurant for his "usual" lunch of dumplings before he makes his return homeward. Thursdays, however--although they start the same, with tea, plants, town--are different: he shops at the craft store and takes his double order of dumplings to go. Back at home, the ecstatic cry of "Papa!" joyfully interrupts his routine, as a little girl races from parked car into his open arms. Dumplings are shared and artful creations are made.
Korean-born, New York City resident Joowon Oh makes her picture book debut with Our Favorite Day, a poignant celebration of multi-generational, unconditional love. Working in watercolor with gouache and paper collage, Oh enhances her spare prose with subtle, resonating additions. Papa is a reader with thick books scattered by his bed and on his living room table. He's a widower, sleeping solo, but surrounded by photographs of his late wife. He's a little lonely, meandering always by himself, seated at a table for one. But Oh also reminds us that his granddaughter's presence must be a regular event: her smaller cup and saucer with its goofy grin on the kitchen table, the stepstool at the sink for washing up, framed photographs that show her progression from toddler to little girl. Oh, who dedicates her Favorite Day to her own "dad, with love," gently reminds parents and young children the absolute necessity of extended connections and the resulting rewards of routine interruptions. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon