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Picture Day Perfection

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  491 Ratings  ·  107 Reviews
It’s picture day, and the boy at the center of this charming picture book wants to make sure his picture is perfect. It seems as though everything’s going wrong for him—he has bedhead, a stained shirt, and a big scowl on his face. But when he goes up for his picture, he thinks about his terrible appearance, and he smiles—because he secretly wants his picture to be the wor ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 3rd 2013 by Harry N. Abrams
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Sep 04, 2013 Tasha rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Picture Day is a day when you want to take the perfect picture. That doesn’t come easily! In fact, the boy in this book has been planning his Picture Day for months. But nothing seems to be going well at all. First is the bedhead hair that makes his brother laugh, then his favorite shirt is stained and smelly, and that all leads into the incident with the syrup at breakfast. The day continues this way and when he gets to school he starts to get into trouble with how he is acting. He won’t ...more
Michelle McBeth
Oct 29, 2014 Michelle McBeth rated it it was amazing
A boy sets out to get the perfect picture on picture day (perfectly awful that is). He has the bedhead, the dirty shirt, dirty face, boring background and is ready with a scowl on his face. Unfortunately, a smile slips through and ruins his perfect awfulness. In the end he looks forward to trying again next year.

At first this book reminded me quite a bit of Alexander and the Horrible...Day. Everything that could mess up his picture day happens. But then as you get to the end you realize this was
Anyone who has ever had a school picture taken--and that would be all of us--is sure to remember carefully choosing the right outfit and hairstyle and practicing smiling in front of the mirror to achieve the right look. After all, school photographs, it would seem, last forever, and can come back to hunt someone even when he/she has left behind the acne and big hair that was popular decades ago. All sorts of mishaps lead the narrator to have the worse possible photograph to be taken--until he ...more
Michele Knott
It's Picture Day. We meet our main character, who has been planning this day since last year. But nothing SEEMS to be going right. He wakes up with bed head, his shirt is at the bottom of the laundry, he gets syrup all over... the list goes on and on. But then..... Well, I can't give away the whole book!!! It has a great A-ha moment with a twist!
Boys will love this young hero and kids will enjoy seeing all of the things that happen to our main character on Picture Day. Great story to add to you
Oct 23, 2015 Christine rated it liked it
I read this one to the students this week (picture day :) on Friday) and it has received mixed reviews. The illustrations are great, the premise is funny, but it's like the joke where you mess up the punchline and no one gets it. It just fell a little flat. Wah wah....
Miss Ryoko
Nov 15, 2015 Miss Ryoko rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
You put Dan Santat in anything and it's guaranteed I'm going to love it. Deborah Diesen did a great job on this wonderful story, and Dan's illustrations made it all super fantastic! I loved it!
Oct 13, 2013 Margie rated it really liked it
If I only had one word to describe this book it would be hilarious. There is indeed laughter but several twists too.

My full review:
Jenna Langemeier
Jun 10, 2015 Jenna Langemeier rated it it was ok
Shelves: children-s-lit
Professional Review:
School Library Journal
( October 01, 2013; 9781419708442 )
Gr 1-3-Bold, exaggerated images done in Adobe Photoshop set the comedic stage for this story of picture-day preparation, which for the narrator began months in advance. All the preplanning culminates at the start of the book on picture-day morning with severe bed head, a favorite shirt rescued (stained and smelly) from the bottom of the hamper, and a sticky maple-syrup incident. Things continue on in this vein througho
It's picture day, the day most kids dread, but one boy is determined to have the perfect picture. One mishap after another leaves him in a less than desirable state though. Paint-splotched scowling face, wild hair, slumping in a stained shirt. Perfect. The boy is now ready for his mischievous photo, one which his mom will hardly appreciate. At the last moment though, his own thoughts of victory betray him as he lets out the biggest smile. Dan Santat's style of bold, cartoonish expressions works ...more
Feb 13, 2014 Ashlea rated it really liked it
As we all know parents and classmates put a lot of pressure on kids for the perfect picture on school picture day and this story is a about a rotten little boy who is determined to have his most perfect picture yet but his version of perfect and his mother's version of perfect are two totally different things. Although the little boy tries his hardest to ruin his mother's perfect picture he ends up making the picture his best yet for his mother.

This book was super cute but I did not love it per
Kylee Shaffer
Dec 06, 2015 Kylee Shaffer rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Picture Day Perfection is about a little boy who is nothing but ready for picture day at school. The unfortunate events that happen up until the picture and not making his day easy however. He wakes up with bed head, has a stain on the shirt he is going to wear, spills syrup all over himself at breakfast, gets in trouble on the bus and many more incidents happen. By the end of the story, the little boy ends up hating his school picture. The illustrations in this book are stunning to look at ...more
Jennifer Strong
Feb 19, 2016 Jennifer Strong rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s, 2016
A young boy prepares for school picture day. He wants to have the perfect photo but everything seems to be going wrong. His hair's a mess, his shirt is dirty, he gets paint all over him at school. What a twist when you realize that's exactly what he wanted! His perfect picture is not the typical clean-cut image a mother wants. The trick is on him though. Just before the camera snaps his picture, he pauses to relish in how perfectly his plans have been executed, and he grins! SNAP! His smile is ...more
This book is a lot of fun to read. It reminds me of some of the awful school pictures I had taken through the years. Although, I was always trying to have my pictures turn out all right. Even as I've gotten older (teachers still have to have their pictures taken), it seems the harder I try to look good, the worse it comes out.

Dan Santat's illustrations are terrific. The endpapers are yearbook style portraits with one frame in the back for the reader to insert a favorite school picture. Although
Sep 15, 2013 Amy rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
When I got off the bus after Picture Day, my mom would always ask me, "Did you get your picture taken before OR after recess?" The answer to that question made a huge difference that even the complementary black comb couldn't fix. Picture Day Perfection encapsulates much of what we felt about the day as kids and now as educators too. It is just plain stressful. I think some of the boy's antics during the day are a little hard to follow. For instance, it will be difficult for students to realize ...more
Oct 28, 2014 Sandy rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens, humor
It’s true, you plan and you plan but sometimes things just don’t turn out how you want them to. Picture Day, that day in school where some children dress up, they try to smile just right, get that plastic comb from the photographer at school for finishing touches on their hair but when they get their pictures back in a month or so, they look forward to next year where they will finally get it all right. In this book, this boy plans for months on getting the perfect school picture. His morning ...more
Feb 28, 2014 babyhippoface rated it really liked it
I'm put in mind of every Calvin and Hobbes comic strip involving Calvin and picture day at school. :)

Our narrator has been practicing for school Picture Day for an entire year. He's prepared. He's ready. He's in for one rotten day: He wakes up with BedHead, has to dig his favorite gray shirt out of the bottom of the dirty clothes hamper, and pours pancake syrup all over himself, and that's all before the bus even gets to his house. That's right, everything is going as planned! This year's photo
Kerry (The Roaming Librarian)
It's that time of year again: Picture Day! Our protagonist is determined to have the perfect picture, but when one disaster follows another, how will his portrait come out? Read it to find out. The illustrations were rife with humor and added so much to the text. And speaking of text, Diesen's story lent so much to the character and brought him very much to life. These words, and this character has attitude. I laughed so much! I think this would be great for parents looking for something to read ...more
So in this comedic picture day adventure a young kid has quite a bit go wrong on the day when everything is captured in film. From a dirty shirt and syrup in his hair, this youngster just doesn’t really have good luck in getting to school in one picture-perfect piece. Things are so over the top that kids will laugh at the over-the-top craziness that happens (the person in line before him got the last complimentary comb…even though there was only one that really needed to have his hair combed). ...more
Shannon Brasher
Sep 20, 2015 Shannon Brasher rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book, fun
This is a really fun picture book to read before school photo day. The main character is determined to have a great picture day, as his previous year’s photo was bad. However, it seems like everything is going wrong. A dirty shirt and spilling his breakfast right as the bus pulled up are just two of the catastrophes that happen which ensure this year will not be a great year for school photos either. I think children will love the twist at the end. And I would recommend this book to any teacher.
Jeff Harris
Aug 08, 2015 Jeff Harris rated it really liked it
Shelves: comedy, picture-books
A boy has been waiting for Picture Day all year, but when it arrives, he's faced with dozens of dismal dilemmas and disasters, including (but not limited to) horrible bedhead, a maple syrup spill, a spitball incident on the bus, paint splatters during art class... you get the picture. Will Picture Day turn out to be the success he's been hoping for? And what really IS his definition of Picture Day success? Read this book to find out!
Jan 23, 2014 Diane rated it really liked it
My six year old son thinks this book is awesome. He completely relates to the boy in this book. Any book that my son requests to be re-read daily is a good book to me!

The illustrations are colorful and silly, providing half of the entertainment of this delightful story of a mischievous little boy trying to assert a bit of control over the annual school tradition of picture day. Perfect book for any elementary school aged kid!
Nashiea Edmiston
My 9-year old thought this book was really funny and she could relate to the parts where the boy complained about his mother always choosing boring gray for the background (I totally do this to her!). A humorous take on picture day, this story is about a boy who always takes the typical school photos...but not today! He works very hard to make sure his photo is disastrous but things don't always work out as planned!
Lydia Rodriguez
May 01, 2014 Lydia Rodriguez rated it liked it
Most of us had bad pictures but we haven't thought about sabotaging our own pictures. In this story the boy plans for a perfect picture but what he thinks is a perfect picture is different from our views. Though he wants ruin his picture it turns out to be his mother's favorite.
I enjoyed the illustrations and the story made me remember my picture days. I remembered planning my outfit for my special day.
Aug 24, 2013 Karin rated it really liked it
This is about a kid that has been planning for many days for picture day. He wants it to be the perfect picture ever! He's planned it out, but everything seems to be going wrong. Or is it? My favorite part of this book was the illustrations. The cover is fantastic! Also, on the back cover there is an empty frame so the owner of the book can slide their own class picture inside the book. Definitely one to buy for the library!
This might be funnier to me than it actually is because of the Studio C sketch. Brilliance in itself. But the twist at the end of the book was its own funny and I enjoyed that. Not sure if this would work in preschool because they might not understand the context. But the school-age kids will definitely get it.
Dec 31, 2014 Meg rated it liked it
Shelves: children
Fans of 'Alexander's Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day' will enjoy this boy's ill-fated story too. Great, dynamic, and colorful illustrations will keep young readers engaged, and anyone who has suffered a series of humiliating school photos will appreciate this book on the whole. Short and sweet, making it a good brief bedtime pick.
Julie Barrett
Nov 10, 2015 Julie Barrett rated it really liked it
Picture day perfection by Deborah Diesen
Audio children's book about a day at school where they take pictures.
You dress up and have the cleaning face with a big smile. Problem is there is always one that messes it all up.
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device).

Apr 15, 2015 Matthew rated it really liked it
This book will mislead you in the most delightful way. There is a surprise twist in the story of a picture day that is seemingly going wrong in every conceivable way. I'm sure that kids will love this story. While it might become relegated to being read around picture day, I'm sure a group could enjoy it at any time, as it is a delightfully clever read. Give it a go. You'll be pleased.
In honor of its being Ezra's picture day today, I'm topping off my evening reading with this sly ode to the subversive nature of lower-middle-grade boys. WHAT shenanigans did Ezra pull off this year for his school picture? Couldn't be worse than the year he sported a tie, a vest, and the dazzling smile of a TV weatherman - that was downright creepy.
Nancy Jo Lambert
This was a fun book and I did not even see the ending coming! I think this will be a really fun read aloud and I really see kids reacting to this book favorably. Certainly a good story with great illustrations that kids will read again and again! A greta book for predictions and inferencing as well.
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Deborah Diesen is the author of The Pout-Pout Fish, a rhyming children's picture book illustrated by Dan Hanna and published by Farrar Straus Giroux. Her book The Barefooted, Bad-Tempered Baby Brigade was published by Tricycle Press. She lives in Michigan. Visit her web site at and her blog at
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