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A Perfect Day

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Today is a perfect day for Cat, Dog, Chickadee, and Squirrel.

Cat is lounging among the daffodils. Dog is sitting in the wading pool, deep in the cool water. Chickadee is eating fresh seed from the birdfeeder. Squirrel is munching on his very own corncob. Today is a perfect day in Bert's backyard.

Until Bear comes along, that is. Bear crushes the daffodils, drinks the pool water, and happily gobbles up the birdseed and corncob.

Today was a perfect day for Cat, Dog, Chickadee, and Squirrel. Now, it's just a perfect day for Bear.

Lane Smith uses perfect pacing and vibrant illustrations to emphasize the power of perspective in this hilarious picture book about the goings-on in Bert's backyard.

This book has Common Core connections.

An NPR Best Book of 2017
A 2018 ALSC Notable Children's Book

32 pages, Hardcover

First published February 14, 2017

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About the author

Lane Smith

118 books321 followers
Lane Smith was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but moved to Corona, California at a young age. He spent summers in Tulsa, however, and cites experiences there as inspirations for his work, saying that "[o]nce you've seen a 100-foot cement buffalo on top of a donut-stand (sic) in the middle of nowhere, you're never the same."

He studied art in college at the encouragement of his high school art teacher, helping to pay for it by working as a janitor at Disneyland. He graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in illustration, and moved to New York City, where he was hired to do illustrations for various publications including Time, Mother Jones, and Ms..

Smith is married to Molly Leach, who is a book designer and designed the Smith/Scieszka collaboration.


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5 stars
581 (30%)
4 stars
841 (43%)
3 stars
429 (22%)
2 stars
62 (3%)
1 star
12 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 415 reviews
Profile Image for Sheri.
1,120 reviews42 followers
February 17, 2019
Happiness is often unexpected and sometimes short-lived, but we all find our perfect day in our own way. Love the whorls, swirls, and lines in the illustrations in this short and sweet tale.
Profile Image for Laura Harrison.
999 reviews111 followers
February 26, 2017
How I love Lane Smith. One of the truly and consistently great children's book author/illustrators of our time. A cute story about a variety of animals having a great day until Bear comes along. The illustrations are warm, lush and glorious. You really have to see the book in person to appreciate it. Positively enchanting.
Profile Image for Agnė.
753 reviews57 followers
September 28, 2017
4.5 out of 5

Lane Smith's simple, whimsical, and immensely satisfying story, which celebrates simple joys of life and introduces the concept of different perspectives, is masterfully told through succinct, repetitive text and richly textured mixed-media illustrations:

There is so much to celebrate about A Perfect Day:
-colors (somehow they manage to appear both muted AND vibrant);
-texture (you can almost FEEL that fur);
-expressions (that squirrel cracks me up, and the bear's giddiness is simply contagious);
-pacing (the final page turn is priceless);
-interesting use of air framing;
-multiple meanings of the same sentence based on the emphasis and the accompanying illustration;
-a photo on the back book flap suggests that this story is inspired by true events!
Profile Image for Katt Hansen.
3,420 reviews96 followers
December 2, 2018
A hot summer day and everyone is having a perfect day - until Bear comes along. And then it becomes HIS perfect day.

With a story that is pleasant and light, you might be surprised at how deep a story like this can be. Read this one with your child and invite them to discuss their perfect day, and what they do when they feel like their perfect day is spoiled. There's a lot here about expectations and reality, and accepting change.

But better than that, is the artwork which suits the story so well. Loved the style, and the story. This is a book that was just fun to read. Not one to own, but one to definitely grab from the library to share with your child.
Profile Image for Angela.
1,180 reviews22 followers
December 20, 2016
I am not the first, nor will I be the last to say this is a practically perfect picture book.

Surely one of the greats of 2017.
Profile Image for Melki.
5,793 reviews2,340 followers
June 24, 2017
A bear's visit to a certain backyard bird feeder disrupts EVERYONE'S perfect day . . .


. . . except for the bear's, of course!


Smith's artwork is simply sublime! I LOVED this one! A Perfect Day is a perfect book in every way.
Profile Image for Cheryl .
9,279 reviews399 followers
February 6, 2019
Because Lane Smith, and reviews.
3.5 stars rounded down, because imo it's not as amazing as the hype. Clever, yes. Original, sorta. Lane Smith does know how to defy expectations. I like how the child, Bert, is *friend* to the animals, not pet owner or patron, and how he feeds both birds and squirrel. The art is so warm and joyful, without being gaudy. Good for kids who are tired of 'sweet' books, but whose parents' don't appreciate Battle Bunny.
Profile Image for Laura.
559 reviews91 followers
November 14, 2017
I really like the textures and soft colored illustrations in this book. The story is about how a cat, dog, chickadee, and a squirrel were all having a perfect day. Then a bear enters the scene and whimsically delights in what made such a perfect day for the other animals.

" The warmth of the sun. The cool of the water. A belly full of corn and seed. A flower bed for a nap. It was a perfect day for bear."
Profile Image for Sara Grochowski.
1,142 reviews567 followers
March 14, 2017
What begins as perfect day for many - including a cat, a dog, a bird, and a squirrel - soon turns to disarray as a bear lumbers onto the scene. Through this visually striking book, readers will discover that perfection and the things that bring joy may not be the same for all.
Profile Image for Dolly.
Author 1 book643 followers
July 8, 2017
The gorgeous textured paintings in this book are really the cat's meow. We are big fans of Lane Smith's creative works, first becoming fans through his collaborations with Jon Scieszka.

The narrative of this story includes descriptions of 'the perfect day' for five different animals and the last one is very humorous and wraps up the book nicely.

Along with his biographical information on the back book flap, Mr. Smith added a photo that shows a glimpse into his inspiration for this story. I loved the image of a bear investigating a bird feeder outside the window of his schoolhouse workspace.

I expect that this book will work well in groups as well as a way to encourage children to describe their own idea of "A Perfect Day."
Profile Image for Edward Sullivan.
Author 5 books204 followers
February 14, 2017
A perfect day for bear means spoiling it for all the other critters in Bert's backyard. Superb illustrations, great narrative pacing, and a delightfully humorous introduction to the concept of point of view.
Profile Image for Lauren.
332 reviews19 followers
December 30, 2017
Can we please talk about this book? Can we gush about the art's texture that made me want to rub my hands all over each page? DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THE CORN IN THE COB IN THE BEAR'S MOUTH. DON'T EVEN. DON'T DO IT.
Profile Image for Chance Lee.
1,326 reviews121 followers
May 3, 2018
Cute story that illustrates the subtle shift between "was" as a word that is past tense but means that something within the narrative is currently happening, and "was" as a word that means something in the past that is over.
Profile Image for Lisa D.
3,024 reviews23 followers
February 24, 2017
Loved it! A terrific spring book! Love this author!
Profile Image for Michelle (FabBookReviews).
1,052 reviews36 followers
March 18, 2017
Just look at happy Bear on the cover! Sniffing beautiful flowers, lounging on the grass and enjoying the sunshine- what could be wrong?! In bestselling and award-winning Lane Smith's funny and terrifically timed A Perfect Day, readers get a look at multiple animals' perspectives of what makes for their idea of a perfect day.

A Perfect Day starts off with Cat enjoying some colourful flowers and Dog enjoying the feel of cool water, followed by a few other adorable animals having their own ultimate day. Where some authors/illustrators might veer- or perhaps stay- on a straight line of the darling and sweet, Smith takes a wonderful and quiet dive off to the comical and unexpected- all the while maintaining major levels of adorable. As we get to little Squirrel enjoying some corn, readers have, up to that point, only seen that all animals have been enjoying a perfect day...but then- surprise!- in trundles big, lumbering, impervious Bear, making a grand mess of things. And while effectively wrecking everyone's flawless day, Bear ends up (happily) making his own day of perfection.

Overall, A Perfect Day is a delight, begging for multiple readings and closer inspections of Lane Smith's illustrations. A relatively simple story, light on text, A Perfect Day makes great use of repeated words and phrasing, and sets itself apart with its comical twist in the introduction of Bear. This story could work brilliantly as a read aloud for toddlers/preschoolers (I hope to try it out soon!), especially if given the right intonation and animated stress on certain words. Smith's mixed-media illustrations are lively; detailed yet broad at the same time, and though distinctive (as is all of Smith's beautiful art), his work is easily approachable for all ages to enjoy.

I received a copy of this title courtesy of Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and comments are my own.
Profile Image for Bruce Gargoyle.
874 reviews144 followers
February 10, 2017
I received a copy of this title from PanMacmillan Australia for review.

Ten Second Synopsis:
As a collection of animals and one young boy go about an ordinary day, they all seem to find the one thing that makes them most happy. Until, that is, a big hairy bear comes along to spoil the perfection.

Muster up the motivation because...

...this is one picture book that proves that perfection depends entirely on perspective. The beautiful pastel palette of the illustrations reinforces the gentle unfolding of an ordinary day, made special by the simple things. Of course, in the second half of the book, things become a lot less perfect - unless you're a big burly bear looking for somewhere to snack, play and nap of course - and there's a certain delight in seeing the bear making dirt angels in the flowerbed, splashing in the wading pool, flashing a corn-cob smile and generally enjoying himself in a bearish fashion. The emphasis provided by the font as bear spends his leisure time inadvertently ruining everyone else's also contributes to the humour and would be perfect for teaching younger independent readers how to take cues from the text when reading aloud. The final illustration depicting the animals and little boy inside the house looking out, accompanied by the text, "It was a perfect day for bear," opens up the text for conversation with little ones about how the other characters might feel. The edition I have received shows a similar image to that of the last page as its cover and I think this image gives a better sense of the book's content than the one above. All up, this is a delightful reading experience that is visually appealing and the perfect choice for sharing a gentle giggle before bed.
Profile Image for Suzanne LaPierre.
Author 3 books29 followers
January 11, 2017
Reviewed for School Library Journal:

PreS-Gr 1 –An enjoyable afternoon is upended by an unexpected visitor in this charming book by the beloved children’s writer and illustrator. It was the perfect day for young Bert, his cat basking in the sunshine, his dog frolicking in a plastic pool, a chickadee enjoying the birdseed—even a squirrel was relishing a corncob. Then a bear lumbers onto the scene and—well, it WAS a perfect day. The simple tale combines the elements of repetition and surprise for a satisfying read that will appeal to young audiences and beginning readers. The gestural illustrations, which have the appearance of paint loosely brushed over a textured surface, expressively capture the mood of each animal. In one image that sums up a spoiled moment, viewers see Bear flailing snow angel–style in the flower bed vacated by Cat—the proverbial uninvited guest who ruined the party. The tale was inspired by a black bear that is a frequent visitor to the artist’s studio; a photo of the mischievous creature helping itself to the contents of a bird feeder appears with the author’s blurb. VERDICT This gently humorous book is sure to circulate well in any picture book collection. A perfect way to introduce the concept of point of view.–Suzanne LaPierre, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Profile Image for Becky.
5,200 reviews102 followers
October 4, 2017
First sentence: The warmth of the sun...felt good on Cat's back. Cat liked to be in the flower bed where the daffodils grew. It was a perfect day for Cat. The cool of the water was what Dog liked best. When it was hot, Dog sat in the wading pool that his friend Bert filled for him. It was a perfect day for Dog.

Premise/plot: A Perfect Day is a near-perfect look at differing perspectives. Cat. Dog. Chickadee. Squirrel. Readers meet them one by one. Not everyone will have a perfect day....all day. Enter BEAR.

My thoughts: I enjoyed this one very much. It starts off perfectly lovely. Readers meet a cat, a dog, a boy named Bert, a chickadee, and a squirrel. As much as I "hate" to say it, the Bear MAKES the book. There would be no story without the Bear. The Bear makes for some conflict. My favorite illustration of the book is the spread where Bear has the corncob--formerly Squirrel's corncob--in his mouth seemingly grinning. The text reads: It was a perfect day for Squirrel. The WAS appears in a different font and a different size from the rest of the text giving it emphasis. This "was" emphasis continues as readers see what else Bear needs for his perfect day.

The back jacket flap shows a snapshot of a bear eating birdseed out of a bird feeder. My guess is this one is based on a true story.

Text 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Total: 10 out of 10
Profile Image for Tasha.
4,117 reviews104 followers
March 24, 2017
On a sunny day, all of the creatures are having a perfect day. Cat can feel the sun on her back as she walks in the daffodils. Dog is sitting in the cool water in his wading pool. Bert, a little boy, fills the birdfeeder and Chickadee enjoys the seeds. Down below, Squirrel is trying to reach the birdfeeder and Bert gives him corn to enjoy. Everyone is having a perfect day. Until Bear arrives.

This book is incredibly simple and exceedingly perfect itself. Smith uses only a few short sentences to tell the story. Repetition is used to keep the book focused and also to make it nicely accessible to even the smallest children. There is a lovely quiet to the book, a joy in the simple and everyday that then becomes something surprising and entirely unusual in the end.

I love that the cover has the bear on it, foreshadowing the twist for little children. The illustrations are done in mixed media that is deeply textured and warm. One can almost pet the cat on the page, feel the cool water in the pool, and run fingers over the cob of corn. It adds to the simple delights of the book immensely.

Perfection to share with toddlers and preschoolers, expect this one to become a favorite. Appropriate for ages 2-4.
Profile Image for Mid-Continent Public Library.
584 reviews186 followers
June 2, 2020
Today is the perfect day for everyone, Cat, Dog, Chickadee, and even Squirrel! Until Bear comes along. He squishes all the flowers, eats all the birdseed, and drinks all the water! But it’s still Bear’s perfect day! Take this chance to discuss with your little one what their perfect day might look like, or maybe how Bear could have done a few things a little differently. Enjoy this one now by checking out a copy on Mymcpl.org or searching for it on Overdrive! – Reviewed by Stephanie at MCPL Reading Rocket
238 reviews4 followers
December 20, 2018
I enjoyed this book. Very simple plot to follow. I liked how the author put some words in bold when necessary to highlight the tense and importance of the word in the sentence. The illustrations were simple but effective. I think this book is very relaxing to read and would be good for children to read at the end of the day. I would recommend this book.
Profile Image for Jillian.
2,524 reviews23 followers
March 15, 2017
I'd have to use this book as an introduction to perspective, with discussion questions. Is Bear being a bully? Or is he just not thinking about how he's making others feel?

It's cute, but didn't leave me feeling great at the end.
Profile Image for Beverly.
5,162 reviews4 followers
May 8, 2017
I loved this book. I loved the colors and the textures of the illustrations, with a very simple, but symmetrical story. And the final picture made me chuckle, as all the misplaced animals stare out at the very content bear.
Profile Image for Serenity.
1,046 reviews8 followers
May 20, 2017
This book is so cute. This will be great to read with kinder. The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous (Caldecott committee, I'm looking at you) and I think young readers will enjoy the story as well. This would work well for introducing predictions while reading. All around good choice.
Profile Image for Christina Reid.
1,212 reviews75 followers
July 21, 2018
4.5 stars. This book made me chuckle and left me with a warm feeling. The illustrations are fantastic and so full of expressiveness that you can really relate to how each animal is feeling. Gorgeous picture book!
Profile Image for Jenny.
2,719 reviews25 followers
November 26, 2018
A very simple picture book...but so beautifully illustrated. It's a perfect day for a chickadee, a dog, a cat,and a squirrel...until a bear comes along. The illustrations are lovely! And it is a nice reminder to notice the lovely things around us that make our days "perfect".
Displaying 1 - 30 of 415 reviews

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