Honey-gold sunlight pours across the pages of this energetic wake-up book, which borrows its metropolitan graphics and beefcake hero from 1930s-40s comic books. According to the nonchalant narration, a fellow named Jack "got up and looked out, got dressed and went out." True enough, but the pictures tell a livelier story. Jack awakens in a circus tent and flexes his action-figure pectorals: "Aaaaahh! Another perfect day!" He blasts off from a cannon and lands in a conservative blue suit, … la Clark Kent (minus the phone booth). On his way to work as an ice-cream flavor tester, he destroys a monster robot and literally "catches" a train as it careens off a bridge. Jack revels in his life, but as he strides across rooftops later on, "things started to go a little funny": he suddenly finds himself wearing an extravagant pink tutu and baby bonnet, the bane of every macho man. "What happened to my perfect day?" he asks in horror. "You didn't wake up yet!" says a boy, dressed in the same style of pajamas Jack himself wore earlier. MacDonald, a magazine illustrator, may rely on the familiar "it was all a dream" outcome (Jack is the child, not the masculine ideal) but shines in his salute to vintage comics and retro printing. He uses a breakfast-time palette of mustard yellow, syrup brown, ketchup red and warm teal blue on antique-white paper, and his sunburst patterns, roiling clouds and voice bubbles convey Jack's super-duper energy. A clean design underscores MacDonald's spot-on pacing, and the ebullient morning images have the intensity of a ringing alarm clock.
Kirkus reviews Starred Review
Putting an even dizzier spin on familiar daily routines than Rod Clement did in his classic Just Another Ordinary Day (1997), New Yorker cartoonist MacDonald follows a mighty-thewed gent who energetically rises in the morning, shoots himself out of a circus cannon into a business suit, dives off a high platform into a tub of cereal, then roars off in a racing plane to his job as an ice cream taster. The spitting image of Superman in the 1940s-style retro illustrations, this heroic figure turns suddenly heroically silly when his natty attire becomes a pink tutu and clown shoes, and he finds himself fleeing an angry mob on a tiny tricycle. “What happened to my perfect day?” he wonders. A pajama-clad young observer tells him that it’s all a dream—as indeed it turns out to be. But he must attack the task of waking up in a more quiet, reflective way, thinking of “the sound of birds…the smell of breakfast being made…” And, of course, the ending is obvious. Still, children will roar at the droll swerves that fill this broad, hilarious episode.
School Library Journal
Square-jawed, muscle-bound Jack awakens and embarks on a host of fabulous adventures. Shot from a cannon directly into a spiffy blue suit, he grapples with an alligator and conquers a space alien and giant robot from the wings of his personal airplane- all on his way to work as Chief Flavor Tester in the World's Best Ice Cream Company. But then things start going a little funny. Gone is the suit, with a ballerina's pink tutu and baby's bonnet appearing in its place. Gone too is Jack's airplane, replaced by a tricycle. All of a sudden, the coppers are after him. What's happened to Jack's perfect day? Obviously it's all a bad dream and, with a little help from his pajama-clad, apple-cheeked alter ego, young Jack wakes up surrounded by the toys that gave rise to his extraordinary dream in the first place. MacDonald's exuberant illustrations are curvy and bold and hearken back to a bygone era of pulp comics. Characters speak and think in dialogue balloons; exclamations like "Oww!" "Poof!" and "Eeeek!" abound. The book is rich in visual imagery, like a double-page slapstick drawing of a fire hose run amok, or cameos of a chirping robin and warm toast in a toaster. Sepia shades infused with blue and yellow and creamy paper stock reinforce the old-fashioned look. Simple text contrasts delightfully with the energy of the illustrations (a picture of hero Jack holding up a locomotive is accompanied by, "but by now he was running late- so he caught the train-"). Another Perfect Day satisfies the unabashed superhero in all children.
The art is the thing in this delicious parody of a businessman's day. . . . MacDonald, a New Yorker cartoonist, has perfectly captured the cartoon-style artwork of the late 1930s and 1940s, starting with a hero who looks like Superman in his Clark Kent mode. He also captures plenty of the feeling of the period in the design, lettering, and in the usual gold-and-blue palette. Even the buff color of the paper is right. Certainly, this will have lots of appeal for those acquainted with the era MacDonald evokes, but young children will also like the look, just as it delighted people the first time around.”—