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A Good Day Hardcover – February 27, 2007


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 1 and up
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books; First Edition edition (February 27, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006114018X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061140181
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #285,945 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Henkes's latest combines the thick black line of his Caldecott Medal–winning Kitten's First Full Moon with the vivid palette of his mouse books to showcase a soothing story about turning lemons into lemonade. Four animals—a sun-yellow bird, a white terrier, an orange fox and a brown squirrel—face small disappointments that threaten to ruin their moods. The bird loses a prized tail feather, the dog tangles his leash around the fence, the fox has lost sight of his mother, and a meaty acorn plummets out of squirrel's grasp. But before even a hint of gloom can settle over an otherwise sunny day, Henkes briskly reverses gears and reveals these momentary losses—of self, freedom, love and food—as gains. The skillful circularity of this simple tale is capped by a nameless barefoot girl who finds the bird's "perfect yellow feather" and jauntily tucks it behind one ear. "Mama! What a good day!" she cries, running into the house in a wide angle shot that shows each of the story's other creatures at home in her front yard. A perfectly pleasing parable for the lap-reading crowd, who will find reassurance in the way each animal conquers an obstacle and finds his or her reward. All ages. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. PreSchool-Grade 1—Employing the thick lines and uncluttered illustrations reminiscent of his work in Kitten's First Full Moon (Greenwillow, 2004), Henkes tells the story of four creatures who start out having a bad day. A bird loses his favorite feather, a dog gets her leash tangled in a fence, a fox loses his mother, and a squirrel drops her nut. But then, the squirrel finds an even bigger nut, the fox is reunited with his mother, the dog frees her leash, and the bird discovers he can fly higher than ever, even without his feather. The animals' triumphant expressions and perky postures, in sharp contrast to their former dejected demeanors, bear witness to the fact that the bad day has turned out to be a good one after all. In a surprising twist, a young girl finds the bird's feather, "tuck[s] it behind her ear," and runs to her mother shouting, "What a good day!" A reprise of all four creatures in the last scene as the excited child seeks out her parent is the perfect conclusion. Full-page, pastel-hued watercolor-and-ink illustrations appear framed opposite each page of large, brief text. This gentle story affords an opportunity to introduce the very young to ways of dealing with life's small disappointments. A fine choice for the lap set.—Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Customer Reviews

The illustrations are very pretty but also simple.
E. N. Williams
I don't usually get too excited about kids books and I don't know that I've ever written a review about one but my 2 year old son and I just love this book.
JJ Palmer
Such a great message, too: no matter how bad things seem, something good can always come from it!
M. Schmidt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Indigo Felle on April 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have a 2 month old son, so I cannot say whether HE will like this book as much as I do, but I think it is wonderful. The illustrations are beautiful, the wording is limited simple, and the lesson important: even when things get you down, it will get better. Best of all, and uniquely, the loss of the feather for the little bird not only was forgotten by him, but made the day of a little girl who found it. I am a big fan of books that help kids learn how to make the most of life, and I think this one fits that bill completely.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By D. Smith on April 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Great books for adults and kids about how bad days can turn around and become good days. Perfect for days when parents have a shorter fuse than usual and the kids seem to get upset about everything. Appropriate for toddlers to grade-schoolers (and their parents). Henkes' illustrations are as charming as ever and the text is clear and easy to read. Excellent addition to any child's home library.
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Format: Hardcover
I don't know why a person should even bother going ahead and reviewing a Kevin Henkes book. I mean, what am I going to tell you here that you don't already know about the man? Uh, that he's brilliant with simple texts? Yeah, I think the world is aware of that already. That he can give a visual approximation of anxiety in such a way that the kids reading the book are able to feel for the characters on a deeply intimate level? Again, no surprises. Still, here before me sits his newest book, "A Good Day", and already I feel a deep and abiding affection for it. The average everyday children's book reviewer doesn't exist in this world simply to bring much deserved attention to new authors and artists (though that is one of the perks). They also bring much deserved attention to those books that may one day be deemed "classic". And while I don't know if "A Good Day" will ever be mentioned in hushed tones alongside "Goodnight Moon" and "Curious George", I can say with absolute certainty that it will be loved and beloved by millions of children for decades and decades on end.

Usually this is the part where I summarize the story. This isn't the easiest task when it comes to picture books, since the summarization sometimes exceeds the length of the story itself. This is definitely the case here. In this particular book, four animals are having a bad time of it. A squirrel has lost a nut, a fox her mother, a bird his feather, and a dog is tangled in her leash. "But then...", the squirrel finds a bigger nut, the fox finds his mother, the dog works herself free, and the bird soars the highest she's ever soared. To top it all off a little girl finds an absolutely perfect feather, and with all the happy animals situated nearby she runs into the house with a triumphant, "Mama! What a good day!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The Library of Congress summary cracks me up: "A bird, a fox, a dog and a squirrel overcome minor setbacks to have a very good day." It's a good thing Kevin Henkes, who has given us the verbose and precocious Lily, knows when to avoid phrases like "overcome minor setbacks."

With gorgeous chunky pictures and giant easy-to-read-from-a-mile-away text, Henkes has empowered young Readers to independently navigate this surprisingly uncheesy story of "things aren't always as bad as they seem." I mention surprisingly uncheesy because I am typically turned off by sweet and tender, especially if it's text a kid can read independently. There's something to be said for original and uncheesy.

Naturally broken into three parts, we first meet four troubled little animals. "It was a bad day ..." the story begins. "But then ..." like Life, sometimes we just need a different perpsective and a little patience to let us know that our troubles are soon resolved.

I love that the text gradually becomes more lengthy and the vocab. more challenging. It will reward the diligent Reader, like the troubled little animals, with a happy ending and a good day.
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Format: Hardcover
I usually don't read reviews first, but I had to see why people would give this book only 2 or 3 stars. It seems some reviewers think the book is too short, that it's a baby book, that it's too simple to hold the interest of older kids.

I disagree.

True, this isn't the same, colourful, kid-centric style of Henkes's that brings us long, elaborate stories like Chrysanthemum or Lily's Purple Plastic Purse or Owen. I love those books, too!

This is a different Henkes. More artful, more contemplative.
And trust me, that's something older kids and even adults can relate to.

The story is a short and deceptively simple look at the "horribilizing" we all do every day. We decide "this is the worst day" and sometimes don't even notice when it all turns around into something wonderful.

The four little animals face their individual problems bravely and then - as animals do - they move on. Each one moves on, through its own efforts, to achieve something far better. And then, the tragedies that confronted them at the beginning are not only forgotten, they turn into a little girl's greatest joy.

This is a simple story that can be understood on many levels. Toddlers will enjoy it as fun animal story. But older kids will listen as well, and perhaps it will make them think.

One reviewer bought the book for a blind child and was disappointed. Actually, I saw it today in the library in board-book form with Braille captions added to the pages. I think that's a mistake, because this book depends heavily on its simple, joyous art to drive home its message. (though, I suppose, a blind adult could share the book with a sighted child)

The words are short and sweet, but they accompany delicious, intricate (almost woodcut in appearance) illustrations and together weave a spell that will bewitch children for many long years.
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More About the Author

Kevin Henkes is the author and illustrator of close to fifty critically acclaimed and award-winning picture books, beginning readers, and novels. He received the Caldecott Medal for Kitten's First Full Moon in 2005. Kevin Henkes is also the creator of a number of picture books featuring his mouse characters, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Lilly's Big Day and Wemberly Worried, the Caldecott Honor Book Owen, and the beloved Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse. His most recent mouse character, Penny, was introduced in Penny and Her Song (2012); her story continued in Penny and Her Doll and Penny and Her Marble (a Geisel Honor Book). Bruce Handy, in a New York Times Book Review piece about A Good Day, wrote, "It should be said: Kevin Henkes is a genius." Kevin Henkes received two Newbery Honors for novels--one for his newest novel for young readers, The Year of Billy Miller, and the other for Olive's Ocean. Also among his fiction for older readers are the novels Junonia, Bird Lake Moon, The Birthday Room, and Sun & Spoon. He lives with his family in Madison, Wisconsin. You can visit him online at www.kevinhenkes.com.

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