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A Day's Work Paperback – April 14, 1997


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (April 14, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395845181
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395845189
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 0.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Francisco, trying to find work for his grandfather, or abuelo, who has just arrived from Mexico, acts as a liaison between Abuelo, who doesn't speak English, and Ben, who wants to hire a gardener for a day's work. Eager to earn the badly needed pay, Francisco assures Ben that his grandfather is a skilled gardener (Abuelo is in fact a carpenter). Returning at the end of the day, Ben is shocked to discover that Francisco and Abuelo stripped his field of the plants and left the weeds. Abuelo is also angered, learning only now that Francisco had lied to Ben, and refuses payment until they have done the job correctly. Recognizing the older man's integrity, Ben rewards Abuelo and Francisco with the promise of "more than just one day's work." Says Ben of the plants: "The roots are still there. If they've replanted early, they'll be alright." Similarly, Francisco is given a chance to start over. He changes from a naively parental figure to a child who "had begun to learn the important things." The shift in the boy's role quietly suggests not only the importance of a work ethic but also Francisco's need to be a child, guided by a caring adult. With expressive, gestural watercolors, Himler, who illustrated Bunting's Fly Away Home and Someday a Tree, conveys the boy's complex relationship with his grandfather and strongly invokes both the harsh and the tender landscapes of Francisco's world. Ages 5-8.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3?A charming story about an elderly man who has just come from Mexico to live with his daughter and grandson Francisco in California. The boy convinces a man to hire him and his Abuelo by saying that "...my grandfather is a fine gardener, though he doesn't know English yet," in spite of the fact that he has always lived in the city and worked as a carpenter. After their new employer drives off in his van, the two set to work?but they pull up all of the plants and leave the weeds. "We do not lie for work," Abuelo tells Francisco when he learns what they have done, and they return the next day to rectify their mistake for no extra pay. Bunting perfectly captures the intergenerational love and respect shared by these two characters and the man's strong sense of honesty and integrity. Himler's softly colored illustrations reflect the feelings of the characters and the setting.?Jessie Meudell, California Polytechnic University at Pomona
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Eve Bunting has written more than 200 books for children, many of which can be found in libraries around the world. Her other Clarion titles for very young readers include My Big Boy Bed, which was also illustrated by Maggie Smith, and Little Bear's Little Boat, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter. She lives in Pasadena, California.

Customer Reviews

Still, this is definitely a good book with a good message.
HeatherHH
A meaningful story about a boy who takes his immigrant grandfather out to find work and in the process learns from him a lesson about honesty and personal integrity.
Books for Children
I think this book is a must in every classroom and in every house.
N. Salazar

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Daniel L. Berek on August 24, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Let me begin by saying that I am a big fan of Eve Bunting and admire her for writing about people who otherwise receive little attention in stories. "A Day's Work" is worthy of that reputation. It is a story of day laborers from Mexico; moreover, it describes how the whole family pulls together to make ends meet (a theme that Francisco Jimenez beautifully explores in "The Circuit/Cajas de Carton). Though it's a simple story, there are several surprise twists. As with her other stories, Eve Bunting tells this one with her characteristic sensitivity without indulging in, you know, the mushy stuff. This book will enable children and adults alike to take a new look at honesty and, as the title says, a day's work.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 27, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This story describes an American lifestyle that most of us will not experience. It avoids criticism of that life and presents a situation in which honest people are trying to survive. The author provides a human face to the characters. Very nice.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 8, 1997
Format: Paperback
"A Day's Work" is wonderfully engaging and a beautifully illustrated work. It is so rare to find a children's book today which integrates moral truth so seamlessly into a believable and thought-provoking story. We will never be without this book on our bookshelf to read to each child as he comes to the age of reasoning! A MUST HAVE for any family who values teaching their children at an early age about honesty & accountability.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
Beautifully illustrated, this heart-warming story is an excellent real-aloud for grades 2-5. Many themes in the book include honesty, hard-work is rewarded and family. I love the fact that no stereo-type Hispanic characters are in the book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Shanna A. Gonzalez on July 17, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
On Saturday morning, young Francisco waits with his abuelo (grandfather) with other day laborers, hoping for a day's work. In order to persuade a potential employer to choose them, Francisco claims his grandfather is a gardener, even though he is actually a carpenter. It is only at the end of the day that the lie is found out. Then Abuelo shows Francisco the value of integrity, admonishing, "We do not lie for work," and taking steps to make restitution.

Bunting's understated text, written from the child's perspective, expresses the raw desperation that the most poverty-stricken people experience daily, helping the reader understand why Francisco would tell such a lie. But his grandfather's personal honor proves that, regardless of circumstances, even the lowest labor carries dignity and worth when it is carried out with self-respect.

This is a serious story, and even illustrated with Himler's wonderful paintings it retains a somber mood that might not draw readers in as easily as more lighthearted books. But it provides a vital, sympathetic glimpse into the world of immigrant day laborers while demonstrating the moral importance of honesty. It's a beautifully moving book which will help cultivate love and compassion for others.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Claudia on January 7, 2013
Format: Paperback
This book is not a good multicultural book. In the content of this book, children see Mexican Americans waiting for work, scrambling for work, lying to get work, pushing others out of the way to get work, working close to an area of high-priced homes, working hard and making a serious mistake, being scolded by their employer, feeling shamed, dismayed, and at fault for a mistake, seeking to correct a mistake, facing the actions of the mistake, thereby winning the employer's respect (which they didn't have until this point).
The illustrations have a kind of gravity that sometimes hints at threats or overwhelming situations.
As far as cultural markers, it integrates few Spanish words, refers to two specific foods (and tortillas are so mainstream they are not "new" ethnic material).
Eve Bunting is an outsider to Mexican-American culture as is the illustrator, Ronald Himler.
This book strengthens cultural stereotypes of Mexican-Americans, and hurts multiculturalism.
Check Johnson 2012 "The Joy of Children's Literature" Chapter 11 for a full explanation.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By N. Salazar on February 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book has touched me very much. I have read it three times and I bought the book. I think this book is a must in every classroom and in every house. It powerful describes how people struggle with the daily paid, not only in the US but in the world and it also teachers about important vales as family values and honesty. A beautiful book for all ages.

I give five stars for this book. I loved the way the author gives a glimpse about the immigrants in this country and the powerful values they have and can share to this country. I also love the illustrations very much.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. Holbrook on December 4, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"A Day's Work" is a beautiful tale about the difficult life of a migrant worker. My mom is a 2nd grade teacher and book reviewer for her district and our favorite past time is reading children's books together. She read this one to me and I was in tears! It is such a beautiful story about integrity and character. You will love this book!
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