Viola's Very Best Bad Day

Children - Grade K-3rd
30 Pages
Reviewed on 05/14/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Viola’s Very Best Bad Day is a concept storybook for children, grades k-3, written by Nita Marie Clark and illustrated by Kathy N. Doherty. Viola’s day had been bad enough with having to say goodbye to her best friend, Rosalie, who was moving away, but then she overheard her mom and dad talking, and she began to realize things could be even worse than she had imagined. Problems with the family’s tractor and the low prices on crops had her dad wondering if they would indeed be able to go on vacation this summer. She heard them mention mean Mr. Budget, and she wondered who that might be and how maybe she could get him to change his mind.
Later her mom announced that the new neighbors were coming over for dinner, and who do you guess was in that van filled with 8 kids and their parents? Summer might be saved after all. But it gets even better than that as the author shares a bit of autobiographical history with her young readers.

Nita Marie Clark’s Viola’s Very Best Bad Day is an upbeat and inspiring story about a girl who starts out feeling very sorry for herself and then finds that things are even better than she could have thought they would ever be. Clark’s story posits the different lives farming families like Viola’s and other families have and it’s great fun to see how Viola thinks the magic cash machine can solve the family’s budgetary woes. Kathy N. Doherty’s bold and brightly colored illustrations seem tailored precisely to the mood of this story. I especially liked her picture of Viola in her bed counting Montana cattle to help her sleep. Viola’s Very Best Bad Day is highly recommended.

Bruce Arrington

Viola's Very Best Bad Day by Nita Marie Clark is a 54-page story about Viola, her family, and how a day or two are seen from the perspective of a child. Viola’s life is becoming more depressing because her best friend just moved away, and every time she turns around something either seems to be going wrong or breaking down. This continues to stress her out until she meets a new student at school who enjoys making others laugh. With strong family support and the special love of her father, Viola is able to learn a little about life. But will she be the wiser for it?

This is a unique story for older readers in that it is set in a rhyming fashion and yet it’s a chapter book. The narrator’s rhythm helps to make it a quick read. I found the book to be charming and sweet as it gently shows the reader a slice of Viola's life, how she manages to misunderstand banking and making money withdrawals and grows in her interpersonal relationships. And then as life often does, things get better, the family receives the help it needs, and things move forward. To me, the best part of the book is where Viola’s father kneels down, picks her up, and sings to her, showing how important she is in his life and making her feel valued and, most of all, loved. Viola's Very Best Bad Day by Nita Marie Clark is a sweet rhyming tale that will entertain older readers.