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All in a Day

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  503 ratings  ·  128 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 Abrams Books for Young Readers
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Newbery 2010
102nd out of 107 books — 530 voters
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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
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
Gabrielle Blockton
Date: November 9th, 2014

Author: Cynthia Rylant; Illustrated by Nikki McClure

Title: All in a Day

Plot: A young boy explains the meaning of a "day" and the importance a "day" is.

Setting: A farmhouse

Characters: Narrator; Narrator's parents (mom and dad)

Point-of-View: Second-Person

Theme: A day can change just everything; Live your life and make it count

Style: Inspirational Book; Short Sentences, Poetic; The mood of the book is uplifting and inspirational; the book's purpose is to show the importan
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."
Jade Clark
'All in a day' is a beautiful poetic picture book which shows how important each day is, and how important it is to live each day to its fullest, 'When the sun rises on a new day, it brings with it a new world of possibilities'. Themes of respecting the earth are gently delivered through the story of one boy's day. The story illustrates all that one day can offer. The illustrations compliment the story perfectly and are very striking and help to depict the wonders a day can bring. This picture b ...more
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
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.
What a sweet and simple book. So much a day has to offer. This book poetically explains the significance of a day. The lyrics of the poem are the equivalent of there's always tomorrow, except to say there's always today. The illustrations as usual for Nikki McClure are spot on, capturing the rapt attention of my six month old with the bold contrast and intriguing detail.
Rosaura Sanders
This beginning reader picture book has beautiful illustrations that match the words. The rhyme pattern helps readers to remember words and their sound. The story is about all the possibilities a day brings and encourages the reader to enjoy it to its fullest. A classroom activity is to have students keep a journal of what they have accomplished in a day.
This is a lovely, gentle book - I enjoyed the illustrations that made you want to really look at it to see all the images hidden therein. It is all about today - one day - and the potential that lies waiting.
I enjoyed this book! It is has a monochromatic blast from the past sort of feeling like "Blueberries for Sal" but I liked it. The simple illustrations the simple message. All we have is today!
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
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
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!
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UEL Primary PGCE ...: Review 6- 'All in a day' -Cynthia Rylant 1 1 Apr 27, 2015 07:39AM  
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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
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