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Hey, Al

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  5,269 Ratings  ·  449 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
Hardcover, 0 pages
Published May 1st 1989 by Perfection Learning (first published November 1st 1986)
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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
I absolutely adore especially the expressively illustrated birds of Arthur Yorkins' Hey, Al (and can indeed both understand and appreciate why the illustrations won the 1987 Caldecott Medal for Richard Egielski, as his pictures are descriptive, lush and considering how much I have always loved birds as animals, sweetly fun and engaging).

However, while I have indeed and quite massively enjoyed (and am still enjoying) Richard Eglielski's pictorial descriptions of Arthur Yorinks' narrative, I cann
Apr 14, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Lisa Vegan
Apr 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Still love this, despite others' negative impressions. Will reread as opportunity arises.
Mili Fay
Mar 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
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
Mar 16, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
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.
**** 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.
Book Description- Al and his dog, Eddie, live in a small, one room apartment in the West Side. Al is a janitor and they live, work, and eat together. However, the room is very cramped and their life is a struggle. Living in such close quarters, they are often at each others throats, but Al doesn't have the money to move to a bigger apartment. Then one day, a mysterious bird shows up and offers them a new life in paradise. Soon Al and Eddie are flying with the bird to a beautiful island in the sk ...more
Keani Meier
Nov 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 27, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: caldecott
1987 Caldecott Medal; Favorite Illustration: The first page when Eddie and Al are walking into their apartment and Eddie is carrying a Chinese takeout box in his mouth. Super cute!

A cautionary tale about being grateful for the life you have, even if you have to work hard and you don't get everything you dream of. I enjoyed this tale, but I also felt that it was a bit dated. Especially with phrases such as "they never had it so good," sprinkled throughout the story, the prose became a bit choppy
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
Morgan Logan
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
Adrienne Morgan
Apr 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jennifer (JenIsNotaBookSnob)
This is a strange one. It's basically about being happy with what you have, but, I think there are quite a few kids who would draw a different conclusion. Basically, an unhappy guy and his dog get transported to bird island, which is some kind of paradise of waterfalls and fresh fruit, but, they panic when they realize they are turning into birds and head back to their one room apartment.

My child would have chosen to turn into a bird. I think I would have too.. lol
Gosh, this was a weird one. I don't think I would read it too super young kids, even though the writing is quite basic.

A janitor and his dog get invited to a lush island. So they escape their dismal apartment. But they find out that there is a price to pay for paradise! This is definitely a story with a moral.

I thought the ending was a little too pat, but it is a kids' book so I guess I wouldn't want anything tragic to happen.
Kristine Hansen
Al, a janitor who lives with his very opinionated dog Eddie, isn't very happy with his life. Mostly due to Eddie's complaints I think. Anyway, fantasy happens, change happens, and we all learn the valuable lesson to appreciate what we have. Didn't like this one all that much for whatever reason. The birds were interesting, story itself kind of blah.
Aug 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read my review for ideas on how to make this book a highly teachable resource.
Michelle Ross
"Hey, Al" starts with a man named Al and his dog named Eddie. Al works hard, but struggles to have a good lifestyle for him and Eddie. One day, a bird swoops into his window and brings him and his dog to a luxurious place with unlimed fruit. However the fruit spoils, and Al and Eddie become birds and realize they miss their life old life.

Social classes, "Be thankful for what you have in your life," friendship, and "grass is not always greener on the other side."

Star rating:
Alicia Rotter
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
Leslie Ramirez
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Hey, Al" is a picture book by Arthur Yorinks and won the Caldecott Medal for the illustration done by Richard Egielski. This book is about a janitor named Al and his dog, Eddie. It shows how they live in a very tight apartment and are not happy with their lives. One day a large colorful bird appears at their bathroom window and invites them to a land where there is no worries or carries. Both Al and Eddie deiced to go to the place, which was above the clouds.This paradise is so green and all th ...more
Anna Ryckman
Hey Al is about an unhappy janitor who lives in a bland and tiny apartment with his dog, Eddie. One day a giant exotic bird came and took them both to a magical island in the sky. They enjoy their time at first, but eventually notice that they are morphing into birds. Terrified, they fly off the island to go home, finding a new appreciation for their life. This book made a good use of bright colors to emphasize the beauty and excitement on the island, and dull brown colors in their home. The ver ...more
Nov 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 307
This story was a very interesting read. I say interesting because it was about a janitor named Al, and his dog best-friend, Eddie. These two live a life of struggle, and are displeased with their lives. One day this mysterious large bird shows up to their home and offers them a life of bliss and of no troubles on this island far away, and they willingly take it. After a while of a blissful life that they consider to be ecstasy, they start to develop bird like features such as beaks and webbed fe ...more
Nov 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Al lives a very routine life with his dog eddy in their small apartment that was the extent of his financial abilities until one day. A big colorful bird flew to Al’s window to bring deliver optimistic news that that meant he wouldn’t have to work so hard ever again for his "below average" lifestyle. The next morning the bird picked up Al and his little dog eddy where they were flown to an amazing island full of rolling hills and running water. After a few days of paradise surrounded by beautifu ...more
Nicole Kennedy
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hey, Al is about a man named Al and his dog named Eddie. They lived together, worked together, and basically did everything together. But, they lived in a tiny apartment and were starting to get unhappy, especially Eddie. One day a bird comes to Al’s window and tells him of an amazing place they can both live where they will have no cares and no worries. Eddie and Al decide to go with the bird to this amazing island in the sky. As amazing as this place was a first, with all the relaxing and sunb ...more
The story is about a man named Al and his dog Eddie. Al didn’t make much money and was a janitor. Eddie was wanting more to do with this owner Al. One day a big bird flew into the bathroom window and told Al and Eddie that he could take them somewhere far where they could have a happier life. Al and Eddie agreed to go with the bird to paradise. The bird took them to an island high in the sky. The island was great, Eddie and Al really enjoyed themselves. Until Eddie and Al started to turn into bi ...more
McKenzie Creagan
Hey, Al by Arthur Yorinks, used a lot of browns in the artwork to demonstrate the living conditions and time in which Al and his dog Eddie were living. The artwork was old fashioned looking and the mood of the story was gloomy as well. It was gloomy until they reached their new home, on an island with many exotic birds and vibrant colors. This was a life that Al and Eddie had dreamed of for a long time, until… they turned into birds themselves. They flew away from the island and back to their ol ...more
Eleni Trull
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“Paradise Lost is sometimes Heaven found.” 3 likes
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