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What’s wrong with this picture?

Calendar showing May 29 as a Thursday

From William Willya and the Birthday Cake, by Skip Masland (c) Moonglow Publishing, 1995

Sorry, that was a trick question. There’s nothing wrong with this picture, save perhaps the boy’s unfortunate lack of pigment. Until you reconcile the image with the text, which says…

It all began one Saturday

when William was at home.

Still no problem. But a few pages later we learn…

His mother kept a calendar

up on the kitchen door,

And next to May the 29th

she’d written, “34!”

(The same way that she’d written

“33!” the year before.)

“I forgot my mother’s birthday,”

William cried, “and it’s tomorrow!

I forgot my mother’s birthday!”

But he had no time for sorrow.

My second-grade daughter caught the error pretty quickly. “Heeeeyyy. If his mom’s birthday is supposed to be ‘tomorrow’ then that would be Sunday, right? So how come May 29 is a Thursday on that calendar?! This book needed an editor, mom.”

Please note, I love William Willya and the Birthday Cake for its Raven-esque meter and its creative child protagonists who act quickly when the batter for the birthday cake in question bubbles over and smokes up the kitchen.

But, the second grader has spoken and she has spoken truth.

Don’t forget to reconcile your images with the text.