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All in a Day
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All in a Day

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  455 ratings  ·  121 reviews
This lovely book illuminates all the possibilities a day offers—the opportunities and chances that won’t ever come again—and also delivers a gentle message of good stewardship of our planet. Newbery Medal winner Cynthia Rylant’s poetic text, alongside Nikki McClure’s stunning, meticulously crafted cut-paper art, makes this picture book not only timeless but appealing to al...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 1st 2009 by Harry N. Abrams
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Newbery 2010
102nd out of 107 books — 518 voters
Simple Pleasures for Special Seniors by Dan KoffmanSimple Pleasures for Special Seniors by Dan KoffmanSimple Pleasures for Special Seniors by Dan KoffmanBlue Sky, White Clouds by Eliezer SobelThe Sunshine on My Face by Lydia Burdick
picture books for those with dementia
28th out of 49 books — 1 voter

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Community Reviews

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Melanie Fernandez
I found this book because the author, Cynthia Rylant, was highlighted in our class book text. This charming book illuminates all the possibilities a day offers. It also sends a mild message to take care of our planet. The illustrations are crafted cut-paper art. This is a timeless, rhyming book that would be a great read aloud to any age. I was actually thinking of reading it at a work meeting. It takes you back into the moment and reminds you that the past is gone, and you have the opportunity...more
All in a Day is a throwback, no question. A simple storyline with gentle, poetic text, a limited color palate of black, blue, and yellow, and bold paper-cut illustrations all add up to a retro feel. By appearances, it looks like it could have fit in if it was published right alongside Marcia Brown’s 1961 masterpiece Once a Mouse. For those reasons (as so often things that seem “old-fashioned” tend to be) it’s not a crowd-pleaser. All in a Day isn’t a book kids will be begging their parents to bu...more
Each day is an opportunity. The reader gets to follow one boy's day and see the wonders and happiness he encounters.

It took me half of this book to realize it is written in rhyming couplets, which I think is at least partly because of the awkward pacing of the lines in the first few pages. (The first couplet is broken up over too many pages.... and since the first few pages didn't rhyme, I assumed that the rest of the book didn't either. The first time that a couplet appeared in its entirety on...more
Rylant's poetry moves through a day filled with work, blue sky, kindness, faith and rest. It is accompanied by the stunning paper cut artwork of McClure, which elevates this simple book to a new level. The tiny details are what make this book work so well. Children will enjoy poring over the illustrations as Rylant's poem carries them on to the next.

Personally, I love all of the little touches. The untied shoelace, the beauty of birchbark, the small whorls of peas, and dandelion fuzz blowing pa...more
Eva Leger
Mar 19, 2009 Eva Leger rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents of toddlers
Recommended to Eva by: found at the library
Shelves: julias-books
Both me and my daughter liked this book. My daughter liked it enough to ask me to read it again this morning. We first read it last night before bed after finding it and checking it out of our local library.
The message within was nice and simple enough for toddlers to grasp which I liked a lot. The illustrations were awesome- so many books these days seem so thrown together and sometimes the illustration is just awful. This had beautiful pictures in it.
I'd definitely recommend for toddlers.
The Library Lady
Sorry, but I am under impressed. It's all lofty concepts wrapped in a lovely book that looks as if it came off of your grandma's bookshelf.

I would bet that parents and librarians will rave over this one and it will end up on the Caldecott List. Meanwhile kids will toss it over for "Fancy Nancy" or another truck book.
Michelle Nero
A book I thought I read . . . I'm glad I decided to "reread" it! A perfect reminder to be ready and willing for each new day.

"This day will soon be over and it won't come back again.
So live it well, make it count, fill it up with you.
The day's all yours, it's waiting now . . .
See what you can do."
Elevate Difference
All in a Day is a children's book by Cynthia Rylant that helps kids understand time is fleeting without being dark or frightening. The book urges readers to make the most of each day because "a day is all you have to be, it's all you get to keep." Rylant, who has written over 100 children's books and has received such honors as the Newbery Medal, does this quite effectively. Her chief character is a little boy who does a multitude of things in one day, from tying his shoes and climbing a tree to...more
Linda Lipko
Rylant is the author of one of my favorite Newbery books. Missing May remains at the top of the list, and I've read many Newbery's.

Thus, I'm not surprised that All in a Day grabbed hold and didn't let go. It is deceivingly simple. But, as most things that take time and practice to craft appear seamless, this book is no exception.

The joy of living shines through each and every page. The pages are filled with gems of wisdom. Again, in life things that seem trite, and phrases that seem overused, ar...more
Ann Cox
This is a beautiful book that reminds the reader of the promises each day brings and how to seize them in the best way. The color scheme of the book is very simple: mostly black and white with a few primary colors to serve as the background on each page. This simple book will be very visually appealing for babies and toddlers as they see how a little boy and his parents spend their day. The adages Rylant gives on each page will also be inspirational to adults.
Rachael Ricker (Myers)
This week's favorite book. I think this is one of the few childrens books we've read that focuses on the morning and daytime- it seems like most are written with an eye towards saying goodbye and nighttime.
Heather Mize
Love this book. Like the poetic story and while the pictures are basic I love them. Sometimes the story and pictures come together and just work. Really liked this one. 4.5.
This is an excellent picture book, and I would certainly grant it two and a half stars.
Cynthia Rylant does a superb and beautiful job of expressing the hope and joy and warmth that is possible in each new day that dawns in our lives, even if we don't personally hold out one single ounce of hope when that particular day begins. I have experienced some of the happiest days of my own life on the days that I expected the least, and this wonderful story brings that incomparable feeling of serendipi...more
Erm. I hate to be heard saying I don't care for a Cynthia Rylant Book.
I'll have to whisper it. >>I don't care for this one.<<

Text is okay, seems like a poem the valedictorian reads at graduation. I like the thick, blocky lines of the illustrations, and the old-fashioned look. The animals are lovely, especially the little deer peeking out on one page.

The people are a tad freaky. Thick cheek marks make them look odd. On one page the man seems to have donned a stereotypical burglar's m...more
Michelle Moloney King
Simple, clean lines, few blocky colours with concise text. Beautiful!!!
Jan Rue
May 19, 2013 Jan Rue added it
Shelves: ed-689-books
Written by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Nikki McClure (2009). New York: Abrams. This is a beautiful picture book written in a poem about a day and the things one can do in it. The illustrationg are cut paper which is drawn on black paper, then an X-Acto knife is used to cut out the images. Only four colors are used - gold, light blue, white and black. The poem tells of a little boy and the things he can do in the day - plant a seed, watch the sun go by, work to do, rest, changes in the day,...more
Robin Harvey
The art was great but I didn't connect with the story
I love the message of taking advantage of every moment for the beauty that it holds. My only comment would be that there is so much potential for the pictures, but right now they aren't as colorful or crazy as they could be. Nonetheless I love this book.
Adriana Simmons
Sweet. Good intro to time for younger children
What a delightful combination! Rylant's poetry with McClure's beautiful art work. I was lucky enough to find an original piece by Nikki McClure at Needles and Pens- a great zine store & art gallery in SF. McClure's art has always fascinated me and this collaboration showcases the best of two artists.

The book would be wonderful for young students to begin a conversation about the patterns of the days. I could see this book as a jumping off point for writing about their own days.
It was the illustrations that made this book work for me. Rhyming picture books awith idyllic themes tend to ware thin on me because they are overly sentimental. But if anyone can get away with being sentimental, it’s Rylant (i.e. When I Was Young in the Mountains). She picks her imagery well and doesn’t get carried away/lost in the poetry.
All in a Day follows a boy through the activities of his day with positive phrases about the possibilty of a day. The theme is to make the most of today and not worry about the past or the future. The illustrations are beautiful. They really portray the action of a day in a child's life balanced with the message of slowing down and enjoying the here and now. I think this would be a good book to present to someone (child or adult) who tend to worry or have stress.
Diana Hanke
This book focuses on the hope that each and every day presents. Possibilities for each day as here and now are examined. The language is poetic and beautifully illustrates what each of us tends to forget, that each and every day is a miracle in itself. The artwork is quite interesting. All images are bold black and white alternating on a bright yellow and a pastel blue backgrounds. The language seems quite mature so I would recommend it for grades K - 3.
Booklist starred review (

Moving through a fluid rhyming sequence of all the things one might do in a day, this book both comforts and inspires. The illustrations invoke curiosity and provide fodder for discussion with young readers. The message is clear: one must be in the present, and make the most and best of it.

Great with a discussion of weather and/or daily routines for younger children.
Rain could show up at your door
and teach you how to dance.


I loved this! Wonderful illustrations and rhyming text that tell a story of the things each new day can bring and the promises and hopes for future days.

I've really enjoyed everything I've read by Cynthia Rylant so far but this book is definitely my favourite.
Alexa Maring
Use this book to teach students about the opportunities they have each day. This simple, yet powerful message is paired with beautiful art and only four colors. I would use this book as a read aloud in the early morning to inspire my students to seize every opportunity for the day. It would work well as a refreshing morning read and help everyone start off on an inspired foot as they proceed in learning that day!
Ok, I am an adult and so this philisophical text with illustrations--I get it. Savor every day, live every moment. As a children's picture book I would not even rate it. The illustrations are done by cut paper and the illustrator uses black and places them on a color background paper. Very old timey feel. Basically don't use this with children, in my opinion there will be no appeal to them.
Lovely prose and wonderful illustrations! The message is one that rings true with everyone, young and old. This would be a great book to give to someone embarking on a new journey (such as a graduation present), but also to give someone who needs some inspiration and reassurance. This book reminds you that each day is special and provides a brand new opportunity to do something different and exciting.
Through the eyes of a small farm boy, the reader is challenged to make every single day count, for once it is over you can never get it back. Using a rhyming text, the author portrays the simple pleasures a day can bring. The illustrations are black and white on alternating yellow/blue pages. Lots of possibilities for classroom use as a read aloud and writing activity in the primary classroom.
Mar 19, 2009 Nicole rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all ages, from toddlers up
Shelves: picture-books
The text and the illustrations come together flawlessly. They just WORK. There is variety in the illustration layout, alternating color pages, impeccable font. The overall effect is bold and impactful...and yet the story (poem?) is sweet and satisfying.

Not to mention, is there a more perfect illustration than the wheelbarrow sheltering the egg? I think not.
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An author of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for children and young adults as well as an author and author/illustrator of picture books for children, Cynthia Rylant is recognized as a gifted writer who has contributed memorably to several genres of juvenile literature. A prolific author who often bases her works on her own background, especially on her childhood in the West Virginia mountains, she...more
More about Cynthia Rylant...
The Relatives Came Missing May When I Was Young in the Mountains Henry and Mudge: The First Book (Henry and Mudge, #1) Old Town in the Green Groves: Laura Ingalls Wilder's Lost Little House Years

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