cover image A Good Day

A Good Day

Kevin Henkes, . . HarperCollins/Greenwillow, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-114018-1

Henkes's latest combines the thick black line of his Caldecott Medal–winning Kitten's First Full Moon with the vivid palette of his mouse books to showcase a soothing story about turning lemons into lemonade. Four animals—a sun-yellow bird, a white terrier, an orange fox and a brown squirrel—face small disappointments that threaten to ruin their moods. The bird loses a prized tail feather, the dog tangles his leash around the fence, the fox has lost sight of his mother, and a meaty acorn plummets out of squirrel's grasp. But before even a hint of gloom can settle over an otherwise sunny day, Henkes briskly reverses gears and reveals these momentary losses—of self, freedom, love and food—as gains. The skillful circularity of this simple tale is capped by a nameless barefoot girl who finds the bird's "perfect yellow feather" and jauntily tucks it behind one ear. "Mama! What a good day!" she cries, running into the house in a wide angle shot that shows each of the story's other creatures at home in her front yard. A perfectly pleasing parable for the lap-reading crowd, who will find reassurance in the way each animal conquers an obstacle and finds his or her reward. All ages. (Mar.)