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Hey, Al

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3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  4,761 Ratings  ·  388 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?

Their room is crowded and cramped; their life is an endless struggle. Al and Eddie are practically at each others 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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Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakMake Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskeyThe Snowy Day by Ezra Jack KeatsThe Polar Express by Chris Van AllsburgThe Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
Caldecott Medal Winners
29th out of 79 books — 358 voters
The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry PinkneyMadeline by Ludwig BemelmansWhere the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakFlotsam by David WiesnerTuesday by David Wiesner
List for #nerdcott
139th out of 335 books — 37 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Ronyell
Al

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?

WRONG!

Al and Eddie’s life is miserable as they live in a small and cramped ap
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Miriam
Apr 14, 2010 Miriam rated it liked it
Shelves: picture
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
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Lisa Vegan
Jul 03, 2016 Lisa Vegan rated it really liked it
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
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Jenny
This is perhaps less of a review and more of a musing about this book.

Almost immediately I began to think about how regardless of our circumstances, we always have a choice to notice and appreciate what we have or to focus on what we don't have. Al is a janitor and lives in a tiny place with his dog. When a bright, colorful bird invites them to follow him to place with no worries and no cares, his dog Eddie persuades Al that they should go. From this point on, the story is a bit odd. They travel
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Kathryn
Mar 31, 2016 Kathryn rated it liked it
Such a bizarre tale. I'm not sure I really liked it, though I appreciate the moral of the story -- it's more than just being content with what you have, it's about being proactive, appreciating what you have and finding a way to be joyous with it (love the yellow paint!). Besides, Eddie is just adorable. The illustrations are certainly memorable and I can see why they won the Caldecott though, again, I personally wasn't a huge fan.
Dolly
Jul 18, 2016 Dolly rated it liked it
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.

This book was selected as one of the books for the April 2016- Quarterly Caldecott discussion at the Picture-Book Club in the Children's Books Group here at Goodreads.
Laura
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
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Robert
**** 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.
Keani Meier
Nov 23, 2014 Keani Meier rated it really liked it
Shelves: 307
Hey, AL By Arthur Yorinks
The art working this book is very creative, and realistically drawn. With sold lines and colors. The birds in the book are highly detailed and exaggerated while the dog was not.
Al a Janitor living in the big city. Al works so hard and struggling to reach end meat for him and his dog. One day a large bird came in to AL bathroom and ask him if he wants to go the a new land. The next day he took AL to a new land. The Land of Birds and AL had a Vacation. He and his dog want
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Mili Fay
Mar 29, 2016 Mili Fay rated it really liked it
I like this book very much. A wonderful and imaginative story to show that one can find happiness with what they've got. If you could be in paradise, but the cost was loosing yourself, would you stay?

I love the rhythm of the language, too.

I also enjoy that this book can create an interesting discussion about personal values.

On the other hand, as someone who does not like settling and strives for "more", I'm not sure I like the message that Al and Eddie should be happy in conditions that make th
...more
Morgan Logan
Mar 15, 2016 Morgan Logan rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
This story is about a janitor named Al and his dog, Eddie. They live in a tiny cramped house and Al feels like his life is terrible. One day a random bird comes by and tells him he can take him to paradise. Al and Eddie go but they realized that “the grass is greener on the other side.” Once they returned home they appreciated everything that they had. This is an unusual story, although I think children would enjoy it. This story allows you to be imaginative, which would be great for kids. The i ...more
Linda Lipko
Al is a janitor who longs for a more exciting life. He and his dog Eddie live in a tiny room on the West Side of New York City.

Barely eeking out a living, he dreams of a better life.

When a large multicolored parrot sticks his head in the window and tells him he is working too hard and to fly away with him to a place with no worries, Al and his steadfast dog, fly along.

Living a life of leasure, Al and Eddie are fine for awhile, until one day they discover that they have stayed so long they are no
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Adrienne Morgan
Apr 19, 2012 Adrienne Morgan rated it really liked it
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
Lea
Sep 21, 2016 Lea added it
Yorinks, A. (1986). Hey, Al. Toronto, Canada: Collins Publishers.

Hey Al is a fun and imaginative book. The two main characters are Al and his dog Eddie. They live in a small apartment in New York, and live a simple and struggling life. Al works as a janitor and Eddie always complains about the boring life they live. A colorful bird gives the two a visit and informs them that there is a place the can move to and have a fun and carefree life. Eager with wanting some change in their lives, Eddie p
...more
Bri
Sep 13, 2016 Bri rated it really liked it
Summary: This book is about a janitor named Al and his dog Eddie that do everything together. They live in a crammed one-room apartment on the West Side and aren’t very happy with their lifestyle. One morning a large bird appeared at their window and offers to take them to paradise. They debate what to do and eventually agree to go with the bird. When they arrive they find this island in the sky to be the greatest place they’ve ever been full of lush greenery, waterfalls, and beautiful birds. Th ...more
Nichole
Sep 12, 2016 Nichole rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1-10
Genre: Fiction
Awards: The Caldecott Medal
Lexile: 320L Grade Level: 1.9
Summary:
This is a story about a janitor and his dog who get tired of living their everyday life. One day while Al was doing his daily routine, a bird came and spoke to him about leaving and going with the bird to a wonderful place, and so Al did along with his dog Eddie. When Al and Eddie arrived it seemed perfect until they noticed their bodies changing into birds. They did not want to be birds. They wanted to go back to th
...more
Martin
Jul 18, 2016 Martin added it
Title: Hey, Al
Author: Arthur Yorinks
Illustrator: Richard Egielski
Genre: Picture book
Theme(s): The grass is always greener, Being content with what you have

Opening line/sentence:
Al, a nice man, a quiet man, a janitor, lived in one room on the West Side with his faithful dog, Eddie.

Brief Book Summary:
Al’s dog Eddie is not content with Al’s humble lifestyle so when a bird invites him and Al to a paradise, they go with. However, the both seem to find that the pleasures do not last long and escape
...more
Exodus Books
May 18, 2016 Exodus Books rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, caldecott
If you were a janitor named Al living in one room on the West Side, and if you lived with your faithful dog named Eddie who desperately wanted a little room to run around, and if a talking bird appeared in your window and offered you a one-way ticket to paradise, well, what would you do?

Probably the same thing Al and Eddie did, unless you'd happened to finish this book first. Let's just say there is trouble in paradise, and when our janitor and his dog make it back home they are poorer and wiser
...more
Candace Nelson
Summary: Hey Al a book by Arthur Yorinks and illustrated by John Schoenherr tells the story of a poor janitor and his dog, Eddie, who work hard day after day but live in a small room. One day a bird comes to Eddy and invites him to a magical life without work. Al is skeptical but Eddy convinces him to go and they fly away with the bird. The magical jungle they arrive at is lush and happy, but after days in the jungle Al and Eddie and beginning to turn into birds. They escape home and find that t ...more
Ryan Emily
Mar 29, 2016 Ryan Emily rated it really liked it
i. Al, a janitor, and his dog, Eddie, lived together in a room. They always were struggling with something. Their room was a mess, they were always working, and recently had been bickering more than before. One morning, a large bird talked to Al though the window. The bird told him that he had a new place for him to go, because he had seen that Al and Eddie needed a change in their lives. Before they knew it, the bird had disappeared. Eddie was so excited to move, he started packing immediately. ...more
Kristen Adams
Feb 03, 2016 Kristen Adams rated it liked it
Summary: Life isn't easy for Al, a janitor who lives in a single room on the West Side with his dog and best friend, Eddie. One day, Al is greeted by a large bird who offers them an escape from their constant struggle to go to the perfect place where there are no cares and no worries. Eddie talks Al into quitting his job and they agree to go; the bird flies Eddie and Al up to an island in the sky where they believe they've truly reached ecstasy. As if this is too good to be true, they soon begin ...more
Cayia
Jan 31, 2016 Cayia rated it really liked it
Hey, Al is the story of Al the janitor and his dog, Eddie. Al and Eddie live in a small cramped apartment, and are not very happy with their lives. One day a mysterious bird comes to visit Al and Eddie, and invites them to a mysterious destination. While Al is reluctant, Eddie was ready to go explore the hidden paradise. The next day, the blue bird came back and whisked Al and Eddie away to a beautiful island. While on the island, Al and Eddie begin to realize that strange things are happening o ...more
Madison Niksich
Yorinks, A., Egielski, R., & Farrar, S. (1986). Hey, Al. New York, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Al lives a boring life with his dog Eddie. One day a bird came and told them that soon he will be able to experience a world like no other. He is whisked away the next day to a land with beautiful animals and scenery. But it wasn’t all what it was talked up to be. Al and Eddie grow wings and turn into very unique characters. Al is sent into a whirlwind and eventually is sent back home witho
...more
Amara Reitz
Apr 27, 2015 Amara Reitz rated it it was ok
Hey, Al is cute story about a humble janitor and his trusty dog, Eddie. Al and Eddie live in a small one room apartment which is proving to be a little too small for the both of them. One day, Al is visited by a large bird that invites him and Eddie to join him on his island in the sky. Al and Eddie packed up and eagerly awaited the birds return. The next day, the bird took Al and Eddie to his island and showed them around. It was nothing like Al or Eddie had ever seen! Birds of many shapes and ...more
Alicia Rotter
Mar 22, 2015 Alicia Rotter rated it liked it
Hey, Al is A Caldecott Medal winning picture written by Arthur Yorinks. Al is a quiet Janitor who lives with his talking dog, Eddie in a messy one-bedroom apartment. One day, a large bird pitched an idea to Al and Eddie to leave their messy lifestyle and take an adventure to a beautiful land. However, this paradise does not turn out like it seemed it would and Al and Eddie are forced to escape. The book is wonderfully illustrated with earthy tones throughout the whole book. The illustrators use ...more
Helen Rena
Would You Rather Be a Dog or a Bird? Hey, Al is one of the weirdest kid books I’ve ever read. The plot goes as follows: a man named Al lives in NYC with his trusty dog Eddie. Al works as a janitor, but is not happy because being a janitor is a difficult, underpaid, and cheerless job. So when a gigantic bird flies into his window and offers to carry him to a paradise island, Al grabs Eddie, and off they go to sunny beaches, loads of tropical fruit, and incessant parades of colorful birds. Yes, th ...more
Vanessa
Dec 09, 2014 Vanessa rated it really liked it
Shelves: t-l-307
After only reading the first few pages, I already in love with this book! The images showed all types of emotion to bring the story to life. It is kind of tough to make humans into birds in my head, but the illustrations gave me the perfect image of it and shocked me too! This story is about Al’s life. He is a janitor and lives with his dog in a small room. They were invited by a bird to go live a better life so they took the opportunity. At first they loved their new life in the tropical nature ...more
Alex Roth
Dec 09, 2014 Alex Roth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tch-lrn-307
This story is about a man named Al who is picked up randomly one day by a colorful bird that takes him to a new place. The bird takes Al to a tropical area that is more lively and colorful than his boring dull life at home. Once Al stays for too long he runs into some trouble and returns home where he knows he must make brighter changes in his life. The illustration in this book is very detailed in the scenery. When it shows Al’s house, the shelves are filled with numerous items and the home sho ...more
Jordan Traylor
Nov 19, 2014 Jordan Traylor rated it really liked it
This story is about a janitor, Al, and his best friend who is his dog, Eddie. Al had a very hard life, until one day a bird came to him and told him that he had a solution for Al’s problems. They decided to go with the bird and discovered that they were in a paradise of birds. They were taken to an island in the sky where all of their problems seemed to disappear. Everything was great until Al and Eddie began to resemble birds. They wished that they could go home, and Al decided that they could ...more
Serena
Oct 08, 2014 Serena rated it really liked it
This book won the Caldecott medal for illustrations back in 1987 and is the story of a janitor that lives a dreary and boring life with his dog and friend, Eddie. When a colorful bird enters their life, they find out that there is no place like home.

Text in a story, unless it is a wordless picture book, are what drives the story forward. In Hey, Al the text is an interesting factor of the story. Going through it, the sentences are short, more clipped, and fragmented.Flipping through the book, y
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