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Monday, May 1, 2017

A Perfect Day, by Lane Smith. Roaring Brook Press, Macmillan. Raincoast. 2017. $24.99 ages 3 and up

"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."

Bert is the boy in charge of making everything ideal for the animals in his care. On a warm and sunny day, Cat finds a bed of daffodils that provides comfort and beauty. Dog is delighted with the cool water being hosed into the wading pool where he can laze on such a day as this. After he fills the feeder with birdseed, Chickadee is a delighted visitor. Since that feeder is not accessible for squirrel as it protects Chickadee's nourishment, Bert drops a corncob onto the grass for the wily and disgruntled rodent.

It is a perfect day for each one of them!

When Bear lumbers forth into their territory, the scene undergoes a marked change. Now, it is Bear filling the double page spread, a corn cob looking like a new set of dentures in his large maw. The grammar changes. Today was a good day for Squirrel. And so it goes until Bear has managed to scuttle the day for each of the aforementioned creatures. Chickadee's feeder is emptied. Dog's pool provides a cooling off from the warmth of the summer sun. Cat's daffodil patch becomes the perfect place for Bear to create a 'summer angel', not unlike the winter ones that kids so love. Suddenly, the perfection of the day is lost to all but one.

You know who is having a perfect day now, right?

The mixed media illustrations are signature Lane Smith! He works with texture and scale in line and warm colors, and offers much for his readers to contemplate. There are so many places where I just wanted to reach out and touch the images, believing that I might be able to feel what I was seeing. Wouldn't that be sweet?

Lane Smith based the idea for this book on a series of visits made to his schoolhouse studio by a bear who likes to see what was in the feeder just outside Lane's window. 

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