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Hey, Al Paperback – May 1, 1989


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 320L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Square Fish; Reprint edition (May 1, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374429855
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374429850
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #356,842 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The plot of this book, for 4-year-olds and up, involves the travails of Al, a janitor who lives in a dingy apartment on Manhattan's West Side with his dog Eddie. One day, a funny-looking bird sticks its huge head through Al's bathroom window and proposes a journey to a terrific place where there are "no worries" and "no cares." Al agrees and takes Eddie with him. What the two experience is paradise--butterflies, wildflowers, chirping birds and cool streams--but it soon gives way to the uncertainties of being away from home, and a moral: that home is where the heart is. This sharp, wry and tender story, which won the 1987 Caldecott Medal, marks Yorinks' and Egielski's fourth highly praised collaborative work. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

This Caldecott Medal winner tells of a journey to paradise and the discovery that home is best. Ages 3-up.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

It's just too preachy and simplistic.
Terrie
I LOVED this book as a child but now that I have reread it as an adult I definitely see it in a whole other light.
Jessica
The pictures are colorful and very detailed.
D. M ZWIRN

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By D. M ZWIRN on March 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
"Paradise lost is sometimes heaven found" is the closing line in Hey, Al, a wonderful book that has a timeless moral for both kids and adults. Al is a janitor who is not happy with how is life is going. He lives in a room with his dog, Eddie, who is also not happy with his situation. One day a bird appears at the window promising to bring them to a better place, "no worries, no cares". Of course, something that sounds that good probably isn't.
This book is definitely an entertaining story. The pictures are colorful and very detailed. Kids will love looking at them and pointing out all the different birds and laugh at the silly transformation that Al and Eddie go through. I think they will also get the story, that what you have is usually better than what you lust for. Everyone, at some point in their life, dreams about something better. This book is a great reality check for us, giving a serious message in a kid's book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on June 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
Hey, Al, by Arthur Yorinks and Richard Egielski, is a story about Al and Eddie, the dog, going to paradise.
Al, a nice, quiet, janitor, lived in a small but very neat apartment on the West Side of New York City with his faithful dog, Eddie. They were always struggling. Eddie hoped for a house with a backyard.
All that changed one morning when Al was startled by a huge bird said, "tommorow I will bring you to paradise." The bird offers Al and Eddie a change. The next morning, both are ready and waiting in the bathroom.the bird carries them to the paradise.
The theme of this story is that "your own home is the best place to be." Al and Eddie were much happier in their own house than in the paradise. Everyone will like this book, because it has beautiful pictures and ideas.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book won the Caldecott Medal as the best illustrated children's book of 1987. The wistful, bright water colors will entrance you and your child as you follow this excursion into fantasy.
Al, who is a janitor, lives in a one room, one bathroom apartment on the West Side of New York City. His only companion is his loyal dog, Eddie. Not only is the place small, it is not very neat and tidy. Eddie yearns vocally for a house with a back yard.
All this changes one morning when Al is startled by a huge rainbow-beaked toucan-like bird poking his head into the bathroom while Al prepares for work. The bird offers Al and Eddie a change. The next morning, both are ready and waiting in the bathroom.
The bird carries them to a misty island high in the sky filled with beautiful pools, waterfalls, vegetation, birds, and butterflies. "Unbelievable" is their reaction. "They never had it so good." They lazed in pools of water, and ate wonderful ripe fruit. What a change from a small apartment!
But one morning, Al and Eddie started to turn into birds. Al said, "I don't want to be a bird. I'd rather mop floors!"
They head back, flapping their wings. Eddie tires and falls into the sea. Al barely gets to the apartment, where he is heartbroken over Eddie's loss. But Al has regained his human form in the process.
Then, Eddie returns, having swum from where he dropped into the ocean back to the shore.
Al realizes that "Paradise lost is sometimes Heaven found."
The last scene shows Al starting to paint the apartment a bright yellow as Eddie looks on.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on July 26, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I was eight years old when this book came out in 1986. Before I even knew that this book existed I used to play a great game with my fellow kidlets. Everyone got onto the bed and someone below the bed was a huge alligator named Al. The goal was to stick your head over the side of the bed and yell, "Hey, Al!", and avoid getting grabbed. When I saw the book, "Hey, Al", I was disappointed to find that there weren't any alligators involved. The similarities to my favorite game were limited, but there was one thing that was the same. That heart stopping feeling you got when you stuck your head over the side, not knowing what you'd find or when you'd get grabbed... that's the feeling you get after reading, "Hey, Al".

Al's just your normal janitor living with his dog in a one room apartment in New York. As the book says, he's, "a nice man, a quiet man, a janitor". Eddie, Al's dog and partner, is fed up with their life at the moment but there isn't much the two can do about it. One day, while Al's shaving in the bathroom, a huge blue bird sticks its head in the window. The bird promises that if Al merely comes with him he'll find a place without any worries and cares. The next day, Al and Eddie wait patiently in the bathroom and the bird arrives to fly them up up up to an island in the sky. Once there the two eat and drink and swim and sunbathe all day. It's a little paradise. But this world starts to go terribly terribly wrong when Al wakes up one day to find that both he and Eddie are turning into birds. Suddenly the honeymoon is over and the two friends must fly for their lives back to their little apartment in New York to return to normal. In the end, the two friends are a little wiser and a little happier with their lot.
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