cover image Daniel’s Good Day

Daniel’s Good Day

Micha Archer. Penguin/Paulsen, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-54672-3

Archer (Snowman − Cold = Puddle: Spring Equations) shows readers that, with a little prodding by her inquisitive protagonist from Daniel Finds a Poem, the most ordinary of greetings can mean much more than small talk. “Have a good day!” everyone says to overall-clad Daniel as he walks through his friendly, leafy neighborhood to his grandmother’s house. As Daniel polls his neighbors—“What makes a good day for you?”—he discovers something important and distinctive about each of them. For a bus driver, polite passengers (“a please and a thank-you”) make a good day; for a housepainter, it’s when the weather doesn’t hinder her livelihood. “It’s birthdays,” a baker says over the counter, and for a nanny, it’s her twin charges napping. The story comes to a full and reassuring circle when Daniel walks back home and discovers that all his respondents got exactly the day they wanted—and everyone, as the crossing guard will appreciate, is “home safe.” Archer’s oil-and-collage vignettes portray a diverse community in the midst of a lush, blooming spring, and impressive detail makes a flowering garden and a neighborhood newsstand (whose owner likes a day with “busy sidewalks and friendly faces”) riveting. Ages 3–6. [em](May) [/em]