A Perfect Day opens with a warm sun—which would be the perfect start to most days, but especially for cat, whom we meet roaming through the flower bed. What could be more perfect? For dog, it’s a cool splash of water; for the birds, it’s a full feeder of seeds. It’s even shaping up to be a great day for squirrel, when he finds a corncob on the grass . . . until . . . enter Bear.
Bear’s just looking for his own perfect day, and in a delightfully cumulative fashion, he ends up enjoying the corncob, birdseed, cool water and a roll in the flowers—dashing everyone else’s perfect day.
Great pacing sets the tone for a charming tale of varying perspectives, both textually and visually, What is perfect for one creature is not the same for all, especially in the natural world. Slightly reminiscent of Kevin Henkes’ A Good Day, Lane Smith’s text is paired seamlessly with vibrant illustrations rendered in a warm, spring-toned palette. Visible paint strokes add dimension and personality to Smith’s animals, a technique that is especially effective at displaying the exuberance of the bear on his perfect day.
This is a gentle, joyous picture book for storytime, one-on-one reading or any perfect day. It’s another coup by Smith, a two-time Caldecott Honoree.
Sharon Verbeten is a freelance writer and children’s librarian in De Pere, Wisconsin.