Hey, Al
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Hey, Al

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  2,825 ratings  ·  240 reviews
Al, a janitor, and his faithful dog, Eddie, live in a single room on the West Side. They eat together, they work together, they do everything together. So what's the problem?

Thier room is crowded and cramped; their life is an endless struggle. Al and Eddie are practically at eachothers throats when a large and mysterious bird offers them a new life in paradise. After some...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published November 1st 1986 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Caldecott Medal Winners
30th out of 77 books — 277 voters
The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry PinkneyWhere the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakFlotsam by David WiesnerMadeline by Ludwig BemelmansMake Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
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After reading many Caldecott Medal award winning books, I stumbled upon this rare gem called “Hey, Al” which won a Caldecott Medal and was written by Arthur Yorinks along with illustrations by Richard Egielski. Get prepared for one surreal yet adventurous journey!

Meet Al, the janitor and his faithful dog, Eddie. They live in a single room on the West Side and they do everything together. So, every thing is fine, right?


Al and Eddie’s life is miserable as they live in a small and cramped ap...more
Al the janitor doesn't mind working hard all day, even though he hardly makes enough to pay for a tiny studio and keep food in his and his dog's mouths. But Eddie, the little dog, wishes for space to run around. When a giant toucan pokes his head in the bathroom window one day and offers to take them on a tropical vacation, it seems like a wonderful opportunity. But as the two buddies lounge around in paradise, they find themselves turning into birds! Can they escape?

And this is where the story...more
Lisa Vegan
Apr 16, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lisa by: Chandra
I adore Eddie, the dog in this book, especially the illustrations of the dog!!! I love all the illustrations. The birds are amazing, Almost every page is amazing. My favorite two page illustration is probably the one where Al is lying in a small waterfall and Eddie is on shore chasing butterflies.

The story is funny and cute and I really liked it, although had I not known it was a children’s picture book for young kids, I would have experienced a couple of pages worth of terror at one point in th...more
**** Caldecott Medal (1987) ****

A janitor and his dog escape the confines of their shabby and tiny room to visit a tropical world inhabited by magical birds, only to discover that paradise has a price.
Adrienne Morgan
Richard Egielski uses a cartoon-like detail to enhance the bright, full colors in the book. The pictures bring out a life-like feel to the imaginary story. This book is definitely an entertaining story. The pictures are colorful and very detailed. I think Hey, Al is very easy to understand that what you have is usually better than what you lust for. This book is a great reality check for us, giving a serious message in a kid's book. The story follows the general theme of many children's stories...more
This book seemed like a rather random story to be telling to kids, I thought it had a nice message, but was a little too weird to correctly get its point across. The illustrations were pretty nice, but I found one illustration especially disturbing, and that picture was of the dodo bird having hands underneath it's feathers, that was just a tad bit too odd. This book wrapped up its point rather quickly and had some weird elements, so I don't think I'd recommend it.

*Taken from my book reviews blo...more
Rosa Cline
This is a Caldecott Award Winning book...

Out of the few Caldecott books I've read to my granddaughter and my special needs sons this one I simply did not care for at all. I think the underlining thought behind the story is nice but the author just simply didn't do well at writing it especially with it being a children's book... wow...

The guy and his dog is bored with their lives. They do the same thing everyday and then go home to a really run down home. but a bird comes and tells them to go wi...more
Margo Martin
In the book Hey Al, Al lives in a one room place with his very faithful dog; they live together, eat together and sleep together although, Al’s dog cannot stand living in such a small space. Al defensively declines the idea of moving saying until one day when he is standing in his room when a bird begins talking to him. The bird says he is working too hard and he needs to come with him tomorrow, and he will show Al how he really should be living. The next day, the bird appears and brings them to...more
Ashley R.
This book was about a man, Al, and his dog, Eddie. They lived everyday just struggling by in life. Al worked hard, but there was always some type of problem and neither him or Eddie really appreciated the important things they had in life, like each other. One day a bird called to Al and convinced him and Eddie to fly away with him to a paradise-like island in the sky. After some time the two noticed that they were turning into birds and they left the island immediately. Eddie fell into the sea...more
David Korsak
This book is about a janitor named Al and he lives on the West side Al most best friend in the world his is dog named Edie. Life was not easy for Al and Eddie. They were always struggling. One morning a bird called to Al and told him he had a solution for all of his problems. Al and Eddie packed their bags and were ready to take off on an adventure with the bird. The bird took Al to a beautiful island with so many beautiful things to see with other birds. Just when Al and Eddie thought they had...more
Grace Bradley
Al was a janitor who lived with his dog. Him and his dog did everything together! Al was a good, nice man. Al’s dog Eddie, always wanted to move to a house with a big backyard that he could run around in. Al was always working hard, but never moving his life along in the direction that it should go. One morning while shaving, a big bird startled him and came through his window and told him he had something special in store for him that would be a great change for him and Eddie. The bird took Al...more
Melody Wolen
Reading Level: 4th grade
Hey, Al contains many colorful illustrations that tell the story of Al and his dog Eddie. They are both, but mostly Eddie; dissatisfied with the life they lead. Al is a janitor and they have a small apartment. One day a huge bird comes to the bathroom window and invites them on a journey. Eddie and Al eagerly go with the bird the next day to an island that seems like paradise. Soon however, they realize they are turning into birds and that they need to escape. So, they tr...more
Sandra Ayala
Another book I choose to read was Hey, Al by Arthur Yorinks. The story is about a janitor and his best friend Eddie, who happens to be a dog. The book explains that Al works hard and is still unsatisfied with what he has. As he is wishing about being better off a bird takes him to a magical place of relaxation. However, the longer that Al and Eddie stay at the place they start turning into birds. This frightens them and causes them to go back home. Back at home they appreciate more what they hav...more
Cari Williams
I liked Hey, Al because it tells a story of a guy and his pet companion as they find their way to appreciating where they are instead of wishing they could be somewhere else. I think Hey, Al teaches a valuable lesson in a way that you cannot always choose your circumstances but you can make the best of them because not everything is as bad as it seems. Al and his dog Eddie find that out the hard way by going to a magical place where they have everything they could ever want, but it came with a p...more
Mar 30, 2014 Dolly rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
A bizarre story with a moral to be happy with what you have. The illustrations are amazing, as you would expect for a Caldecott Medal winner, and the story is a good one, if a bit odd. We've read this one a few times and we've enjoyed reading it together.
Jamie Singer
Al is a janitor who lived on the west side with his dog Edie. Edie, the dog and Al were always working and struggling. The bird was saying to Al are you working too hard and still struggling? He was saying you need a change, and told Al to come over. The bird took Al to a beautiful island with so many beautiful things to see with other birds. Al and Eddie decided to live like this, and then they started to turn into birds. Al and Eddie got mad, and decided they did not want to be birds and would...more
Brenna Daugherty
Al and his dog Eddie are tired of their boring, struggle filled life. One day a very large bird invites Al and Eddie an escape from their life. They accept and are taken to an island in the shy filled with birds of all types. Al and Eddie are enjoying their time on the island until they discover that they are changing. They each escape back to their home and relive that their life was not so bad. The grass is not always greener on the other side. The illustrations take us from a scene of muted,...more
Read my review for ideas on how to make this book a highly teachable resource.

This book is a story about a man and his dog, but it takes a little twist. They are dreaming of a better life. They are dreaming about all the things they don’t have, but are soon presented with Paradise by a bird. After visiting paradise, they realize that they like the life they have at home in their small apartment. When they get home, they learn to be thankful for the little things they have and they learn to appreciate each other more. The illustrations in this book are colorful and tell th...more
Gianna Parisi
Hey, Al written by Arthur Yorinks is a story book about a janitor named Al and his dog Eddie who did not like their one bedroom apartment and were taken to a paradise island to find out paradise isn't what it seems. When they get to paradise island they begin turning into birds. They decide to leave the island and go back home. When they get home they both start appreciating and taking care of what they have. This book is great to teach students not to compare their lives with others because eve...more
Jaycie Shearer
This book has very simple illustration and text on each page. Because of the large amount of text and so few pictures, older children should read this book. By only having one illustration for multiple ideas, it has great detail as well as allows the reader to use their imaginations. The main characters and scenes in the illustrations guide the reader throughout the book, while they get to visualize the rest of the story in their minds. The book has a good amount of text for children to challeng...more
Sam Cooper
This book was amazing. The illustrations depict such an adventure.

They are almost 3D like and pop out of the page. The moral behind this story, that the grass

is not always greener on the other side, was given in such a strong and motivational way.

“Paradise Lost is sometimes Heaven found.” Such a beautiful message and a great way to show

the moral of the story. This story is about a man named Al who is offered a life somewhere

magical but soon realizes it is not as perfect as it seems. And that...more
Chris Evans Ramsey
Hey, Al by Arthur Yorinks, Richard Egielski (Illustrator) Yet another book that I just couldn’t get into. Yes, it won Caldecott Medal (1987), Kentucky Bluegrass Award for K-3 (1988), Little Archer Award (1988) but I just thought it was silly. It is about a man and his dog who clean for a living. I resent the author using that career as an insult. He also lives in a small apartment. He becomes fed up with life and wishes to go away. A bird takes him and his dog away to a carefree island where the...more
A janitor named Al and his faithful dog Eddie work very hard, but have a life full of struggles. Their one-room apartment is small and cramped and it’s difficult to appreciate what they have. A large bird offers Al and Eddie an opportunity to move to paradise, and they take it. Soon Al and Eddie discover that life in paradise may not be as great as they thought, and they work to get back home. Egielski uses watercolors to move from muted colors to a more vivid palette as the story unfolds and th...more
Melissa Morton
Al and his dog Eddie are tired of their home in the West Side. One day, a large bird asks Al if he would like to get away. Eddie convinced Al that they needed a getaway, and so the next day they awaited the bird’s return. The bird takes them to a faraway place, seemingly paradise. After a few days, Al and Eddie begin to turn into birds and they do not approve. Al decides he wants to go back home to the West Side, and so, with a struggle, he and his loyal dog Eddie flew home.

The illustrations ar...more
Courtney Schlenker
"Hey, Al" by Arthur Yorinks is a story about a janitor who lives with his dog, Eddie. They do everything together, eat, sleep, work, nothing could go wrong. Al’s life is a struggle; him and Eddie are at each other’s throats. One day a large bird talks to Al about going to a better place where there is no worry and him and Eddie decide to go. Al and Eddie go to a gorgeous island in the sky and they are living a luxurious life. They end up in the prison and after a dramatic and dangerous escape Al...more
Jacquelyn Hoogendyk
Hey, Al by Arthur Yorinks tells the story of a man (Al) and his dog (Eddie) who are not satisfied with their life until one day something magical happens. A bird appears in Al’s bathroom who promises them a life of no worries. Al and Eddie go to a tropical place and spend many days there. Until one day, they begin to notice that they are turning into birds just like all the creatures around them. They decided to fly home and when Al and Eddie reach home they realize that home is not as bad as th...more
This is definitely not your average picture book. The story is fanciful, sometimes stretching the boundaries of how far the mind is willing to believe, but it is also grounded very much in the harsher points of reality.

Al, a hard-working janitor, and Eddie, his malcontented friend who happens to be a dog, live in a one-room apartment that seems ill-equipped for either of theirs needs. When a strange giant bird offers to take them to a true paradise, Eddie and Al can't say no, and for a long w...more
I saw Hey, Al sitting on the shelf at the library where I work, and I picked it up on impulse for the kids. Would they like it? I didn't know, but I thought there was a good chance that they'd at least enjoy parts of it.

They really enjoyed Hey, Al. It was very easy for my nephew to understand, and he loved the spot of trouble that Al and Eddie found themselves in. He cracked up several times throughout the book, and just enjoyed the unwinding of the story. He had me read this book to him twice,...more
Al, a janitor, & his faithful dog, Eddie, live in a single room on the West Side. Their room is crowded & cramped; their life is an endless struggle. Al & Eddie are practically at each others throats when a large & mysterious bird offers them a new life in paradise. After some debate, they decide to accept.

Transported to a gorgeous island in the sky, Al & Eddie are soon living a life of ease & luxury. But they come to find that the grass can be a little too green on the o...more
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“Paradise Lost is sometimes Heaven found.” 2 likes
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