cover image A Perfect Day

A Perfect Day

Lane Smith. Roaring Brook, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-62672-536-2

Smith (There Is a Tribe of Kids) takes readers to a house in the countryside in a neatly constructed story that reveals how simple pleasures create a “perfect day” for several animals. Cat couldn’t be happier sitting in a bed of daffodils, Dog rests in a cool wading pool, and a boy named Bert ensures that Chickadee and Squirrel have something to eat. Smith’s artwork is a riot of color and texture—forceful brushstrokes evoke animal fur, and gestural flowers create blasts of color in the landscape. Then a hulking bear shows up, and Smith uses repetition to cleverly recast the calm declarations of the first half of the book (“It was a perfect day for Cat”) as Bear steals Squirrel’s corncob, devours Chickadee’s birdseed, dumps Dog’s pool over himself, and makes giddy flower angels in the daffodils (“It was a perfect day for Cat”). Bear is more galoot than menace, though Smith does conclude with Bert and the other animals bidding a hasty retreat. Perfect, readers will understand, is very much in the eye of the beholder. Ages 4–8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Feb.)