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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.