The Sorely Trying Day
Publication Date: March 23, 2010
Categories: Family - General
Father has had a long hard day at work. A sorely trying day indeed. He wants to sit down and put his feet up and rest. But what does he find when he arrives home? Commotion, consternation, confusion, chaos rule! How to get to the bottom of it? How to restore some semblance of proper order?
The investigation, reluctantly begun, expands in widening circles to take in the whole family, as finger points to pointing finger. Perhaps everyone is to blame? Perhaps to set things straight everyone just needs to sit down, say sorry, and start over again?
That family life is just that simple and never quite that simple is the message Russell and Lillian Hoban, the creators of such classics as Bread and Jam for Frances, A Little Sister for Frances, and The Little Brute Family, bring alive in this cleverly fashioned and heartwarmingly illustrated tale of a house in uproar.
Russell Hoban (b. 1925) is the author of more than seventy books for children and adults. He grew up in Pennsylvania with two sisters (one of whom, Tana Hoban, became a noted photographer and children’s book author) and attended the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art, where he met his future wife and collaborator Lillian Aberman. Hoban worked as a commercial artist and advertising copywriter before embarking on a career as a children’s author while in his early thirties. Soon the Hobans were collaborating on books, Russell writing the text and Lillian drawing the pictures. During the 1960s the couple worked at a prodigious rate, producing as many as six books in a single year—many inspired by life with their own four children—including six stories about Frances the badger, The Little Brute Family, Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas, and The Mouse and His Child. Russell Hoban’s other books for young readers include The Marzipan Pig, Trouble on Thunder Mountain, and two books about Captain Najork (illustrated by Quentin Blake). Among Hoban’s novels for adults are Turtle Diary, Riddley Walker, The Bat Tattoo, and most recently, My Tango with Barbara Strozzi. Hoban has lived in London since 1968.
Lillian Hoban (1925–1988) was born and raised in Philadelphia. She became interested in drawing at a young age, taking classes at the Graphic Sketch Club before going on to the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art. After their marriage, Russell and Lillian Hoban moved to New York City, where Lillian studied modern dance and later became a member of Martha Graham’s troupe. In 1961 she provided illustrations for Russell’s Herman the Loser, eventually illustrating or co-writing twenty-six books with him and illustrating nearly one hundred more for other writers, including several by her daughters Phoebe and Julia. In later years, Lillian was celebrated for her stories of Arthur the chimpanzee and his sister Violet, as well as for dozens of other books she wrote and illustrated. She lived in New York City and Wilton, Connecticut, until her death in 1988.
"Russell Hoban... a prolific author of children’s books” --The New York Times
“Leading the canon of anxiety-kid-lit for me are the books of Russell and Lillian Hoban…I find their books to be more sophisticated.” –The New York Times
"Russell Hoban is a writer whose genius is expressed with equal brilliance in books both for children and for adults,...Hoban has established himself as a writer with a rare understanding of childhood (and parental) psychology, sensitively and humorously portrayed in familiar family situations." --Alida Allison, Dictionary of Literary Biography
“A long-out-of-print classic from the authors of the beloved Frances books, The Sorely Trying Day offers a timely antidote to stress. Try reading this aloud to the family at the end of, well, a sorely trying day.”
--Los Angeles Times