A Good Day Review

A-Good-DayWhile meeting at a library for a playdate, my friend noticed Kevin Henkes’ A Good Day sitting out and mentioned how much her children loved it.  My children and I read the copy and I could immediately see its appeal.  Right after you read the title, the first line is, “It was a bad day…”  Children are often keen to keep reading something that doesn’t quite make sense, and apparently so was I.  The book then follows a yellow bird, a white dog, an orange fox, and a brown squirrel as they face incidents that invoke negative emotions. “But then…”  each of these animals also experiences something wonderful happening to them in their day.  My favorite is that the bird simply forgets about the tail feather he lost and flies higher than ever.  The ending is also sweet in that the tail feather the bird lost is found by a little girl, who is so excited that she is now having a good day.

Through this book, even the youngest children can start to embrace the concept of moving on from “a bad day” long before the day is actually over.  For example, if squirrel had stayed moping around about his lost nut for the entire day, he probably wouldn’t have “found the biggest nut ever”.  And who knows, maybe prior to the little girl finding the feather, something could have happened in her day that made her feel like she was having a bad day, and a simple feather made her feel good again.

To dig a little deeper with your children into some readings, consider a feeling-comparison question, such as, “How does the bird, dog, fox, or squirrel feel in this picture?”  I’m a fan of any book that allows children to discuss the changing emotions of characters.  To bring the story into their own life, you might ask, “What were some bad things that happened in your day today?  What were some good things?”

Breaking apart the day with your child into a specific time frame, activity, class, etc. might work better than, “How was your day?”  Because even if they say “It was good” or “It was bad,” you better believe there were lots of good and bad things that happened throughout the day.  But when forced to generalize the day into one lump sum, they will.  And I’m pretty sure they learn “to lump” from us adults- a concept explored further in this essay.

But, if children make a habit of pointing out that some bad things were followed by some good things, they might start to internalize that the bad feelings that result from the bad things don’t have to last very long.  A bad feeling doesn’t have to be carried around like a heavy suitcase until their head hits the pillow; because carrying around negative emotions until the sun goes down can be every bit as exhausting as physically carrying something all day- sometimes more so.  It was great to see the characters in this book ditch those potentially heavy suitcases for a happier moment- in little fox’s case he literally turned right into that happy moment, being reunited with his mother.




6 thoughts on “A Good Day Review

  • Julie Grasso

    What a fantastic book for helping kids to really identify and deal with the emotions that are invoked after bad things happen. Thank you so much for bringing this book to our attention on the kid lit blog Hop. We will be pinning it for future reference

    • Liz Cave Post author

      You’re so welcome, Julie! Kevin Henkes of course has lots of gems, but this I think is our favorite. Good reminder for ME too not to let the whole day be “a wash”, even if it started our poorly.

  • Alicia Owen

    This sounds like a great book for preschoolers who are still learning to understand and control their emotions properly. I think it’s a great idea to expand on the whole “good or bad” day thing like you said. Hopefully this will help kids learn to find the positive side of things, even if they’ve had a “bad day” in general. Thanks for sharing on the Kid Lit Blog Hop! :)

    • Liz Cave Post author

      Thanks for your comments, Alicia! And, since it has short, repetitive phrases, it’s a great book to hold onto for beginning readers, as well.

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