Smith, Lane. Perfect Day, A. Lane Smith, Illus. Picture Book. Roaring Brook, 02/2017. pp. $17.99. 978-1-62672-536-2. OUTSTANDING. GRADES PRE-2
Some neighborhood animals (cat, chickadee, dog, and squirrel) have perfectly wonderful experiences until a bear comes lumbering along and, in the process of ruining the day for them, creates a perfect day for himself. The mixed-media Smith employs for the illustrations are swirled and layered using a variety of artistic techniques, ultimately leading to a unique textural look that brims with movement. Full use of each dual-spread frame, text color-coded to each animal, the humorous one-word contrast between before and after the bear arrives (“It WAS a perfect day…”), as well as the page-turn introducing the bear are all used to brilliant effect. In addition, the simple, repetitive structure to the text makes the ending land all the more firmly, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a sillier image in a picture book this year than the one here where the bear has a corncob shoved in his mouth sideways. The inspired choice to bring in the interloper to muck up the works helps to set this one apart from Kevin Henkes’ similarly wonderful A Good Day (Greenwillow, 2007). A perfect read-aloud choice.
Eric Barbus, San Francisco Public Library