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Cover image for A perfect day
A perfect day

1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Greenwillow Books, ©2012.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Young friends enjoy a day of sledding, snowball fights, and ice skating one snowy day in their hillside village.
Reading Level:
Ages 4-8.
Electronic Access:
DPS Book Review


Call Number

On Order



It snowed.
And snowed.
And snowed.
After it snowed,
bundled up and
went outside to play.
You come, too!

Carin Berger's exquisite collages illuminate, from dawn to dusk, the perfect winter day.

Reviews 6

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-Berger is captivated by the look of the landscape after it has snowed and the interest that lines, shapes, textures, and light add to the view. Her cut-paper compositions build snow-covered hills with ledger-book paper that has been brushed with paint; the pale blue script and lines show through, adding depth and mystery. The text floats down with the flakes in the opening spread. On the following pages, tall bare trees and, later, glowing lampposts add a vertical dimension to the horizontal world. Children emerge singly and in small groups. First the focus is on footprints and the lines from skis and skates. Then it is on the fun of throwing snowballs, making snowmen and forts, and sledding. The climax is a spread of 18 snow angels, after which the youngsters proceed to their respective homes, which are spread out on the hillsides as in a Currier and Ives scene. Berger's brief narrative describes the children's actions; it is the pictures that convey the wonder. A quiet celebration of a phenomenon that transforms everything it touches.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

"The whole world was white," writes Berger in this hushed vision of a snowy day. Berger's collages, however, are no simple "white": her hilly snowscapes are crafted from lined paper, handwritten ledgers, and typewritten pages in creamy off-whites and pale yellows. Berger follows the activities of various children with birdlike faces, layered in winter plaids, before they "go home to warm hugs and dry clothes and steaming hot chocolate." The pared-down prose both suggests the quiet stillness of a winter afternoon and lends itself to thoughtful consideration of each spread. Lovely. Ages 4-8. Agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

An omniscient narrator describes how children spend one snowy day: "Sasha and Max showered Oscar / with a wild flurry of snowballs, / while Willa climbed to the top of a big mountain," etc. Alas, because this hymn to winter is plotless, the gorgeous cut-paper collages don't add up to more than the sum of their picturesque parts. (c) Copyright 2013. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

A charmingly illustrated catalog of things to do in the snow, Berger's latest nonetheless lacks a narrative to hold it together. After a gentle snowstorm, people come out to enjoy some winter fun. "Emma got to make the first tracks in the snow // but then Leo whooshed by on his skis. // Otto got lost in a deep drift. // Sasha and Max showered Oscar with a wild flurry of snowballs." And so it continues--a loose collection of winter activities, characters' names blending together and becoming meaningless in their sheer number--19 by the end, none repeating. They climb to the top of a snow mountain; build a fort and snowmen; sled; ice skate; make snow angels; and even open an icicle stand. As dusk descends, the warm lights guide them toward home, warm clothing and hot chocolate. The muted colors, clothing styles and sparse details in both the illustrations and the text lend this a retro feel that is echoed in the old-fashioned sleds and skates and the rustic, small-town setting. Berger's now-trademark illustration style is much in evidence here, white ephemera providing a snowy backdrop, while collaged elements give a 3-D, scrapbook effect. Quirky characters sport pointed orange noses and round heads like snowmen, making each one seem like a combination person/bird. With no story to follow, readers are not likely to ask for rereadings, however masterful the images. (Picture book. 2-5)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

The perfect day is a snow day, and Berger, with very special art, portrays it as perfect indeed. Using a delicate collage made from old paper ephemera catalogs, notebooks, letters, and newspaper and book pages the look is distinctive. As for the story, well, it's more of a mood. A group of children, almost puppetlike in appearance, run through the snow: Emma is the first to make tracks, Leo skies, Sasha and Max throw snowballs at Oscar. Snowmen are made; snow forts are built. Frozen ice is ready for skating. Then all the children make angels in the snow. Throughout, the focal point is the hilly whiteness. Kids, and even a towering snowman, decorate rather than become the center of attention. Only the double-page spread of 18 diminutive children waving arms and legs into angels is enough to blank out the snow. Readers will love looking at the pictures again and again; there will always be something new to notice including the faint writing on the snow, courtesy of its former provenance.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2010 Booklist

New York Review of Books Review

WRITING a children's book about snow is no small order, given that one of the most memorable children's books of all time, "The Snowy Day," by Ezra Jack Keats, so definitively owns the subject. The book's freshness is all the more startling given that it celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. But there will always be new takes on the subject, whether decidedly nostalgic ones, as in two new books, "Cold Snap" and "Twelve Kinds of Ice," or contemporary ones, as "The Snowy Day" was in its time and "A Perfect Day" is now. Could there be any pleasure more timeless than a book that sparkles? It's always nice when the prose shines, but "Cold Snap," written by Eileen Spinelli and illustrated by Marjorie Priceman, is going for a more literal dazzle: its snow-scene cover glints with tiny flecks of ice-blue glitter, providing the kind of visual that will entrance readers before they have heard so much as a single word of text. To its credit, the story, too, reflects a deep understanding of what is most likely to tickle the fancy of children. As a cold snap in the village of Toby Mills gets worse, the icicle on the nose of a local statue gets longer; the mayor is spied at his office getting cozy in pink bunny slippers; and Pastor Pickthorn's dog, Mugs, begs "for his fuzzy red coat - the one he had balked at wearing before." In the age of global warming, a cold snap seems to serve as the perfect premise for a tale imbued with deep nostalgia. Heavy on Americana, "Cold Snap" evokes fabled small-town values, the kind inevitably described as bygone but more accurately called idealized. It is a place where the Sullivan Sisters knit mittens the size of flap-jackets for all the children in town, and locals accept the mayor's invitation to a "winter surprise" because, as a certain Mrs. Moffat says, "It's our civic duty." Priceman, who is perhaps best known for the lively illustrations of "Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin," brings the same antic energy to the chilly but cheery people of Toby Mills, and Spinelli alternates gags with tender moments. A woman bakes her husband's birthday cake elsewhere rather than disturb a family of mice seeking heat in her oven; and readers may forever see the moon on icy nights as Spinelli describes it: "silver as sleet." If "Cold Snap" is the Sears Roebuck of snow stories, "A Perfect Day," by the designer and illustrator Carin Berger, is straight out of Etsy. Its tiny Penguin-like collage-based figures - Sasha and Max and Thea among them - are visions in twill and plaid and striped tights. Its snowy scenes are so tasteful that an icicle stand opened by young Charlotte looks like some outdoor pop-up shop that a contestant on Bravo might have designed (even the sign on the stand is subtle but snazzy). In this book for toddlers, or for older children with a good eye, the text is mostly a setup for the unusual and beautiful images, as Berger follows a day's progress from the first pristine scene of morning to the evening's moody landscape, imprinted with the hollows of snow angels and glowing with warm lamplight. "A Perfect Day," though spare in words, evokes the greatest hits of snowy days, from steaming cups of hot chocolate to snowball fights. Its images - stark trees and strangely shaped clouds - capture something more elusive, the eerie otherworld liness of a landscape transformed. Berger created the backgrounds of her collages using faded old receipts and other ephemera. Children may not even notice the ghostly scrawlings, but for adults they serve as a reminder of the contrast between the concerns of grown-ups (bills, balances, investments) and those of the Finns and Sophies who populate this snowy world. The nostalgia is even more explicit, and specific, in Ellen Bryan Obed's perfect snowflake of a book, "Twelve Kinds of Ice." Truth be told, it is unclear exactly what kind of child would find the book entrancing: sophisticated enough for good readers, it is sparsely, if deftly, illustrated and has no vampires or brand names or even a dramatic plot to suck someone in. But it is nonetheless an ingeniously crafted memoir of Obed's dreamy childhood in Maine, built around the 12 kinds of ice that served as successive signposts of the advancing season. It starts with the first ice that "came on the sheep pails in the barn - a skim of ice so thin that it broke when we touched it." And it takes readers through various delights as December turns to January and February. Even more powerful than Obed's evocations of the thrills of physical sport are her swift, indirect characterizations of her family, who worked hard to transform what was usually the vegetable garden into a skating rink, making them neighborhood stars. Obed's father not only let all the local children put on an ice show in his rink, piping John Philip Sousa through the house windows, but provided the entertainment, skating around with a lemon pie that ended up making contact with Grandpa's face. This is a book about a young woman's deep connection to nature and her family, but also the thrilling reward of pitching in together to create something magical. Barbara McClintock's engraving-like illustrations, all black and white, capture New England's austerity and beauty in winter, and the swirling lines of skaters in motion. Of course, anyone nostalgic for a decidedly modern children's book about snow need look no further than "The Snowy Day," with its friendly traffic light; chocka-block apartment buildings; and independent hero, Peter, a young boy of color. For as long as there is snow, such books remind us, the experience of its magical coldness - in literature as in the outdoors - will thrill children, wherever they are. Susan Dominus is a staff writer at The Times Magazine.