Day in the Life of Murphy

( 3 )

Overview

He's a bad dog, but you have to love him.

What a day for Murphy, a terrier who hears people yell "Murphy, stop that!" so often, he believes that's what he's called. He wakes up in the barn -- he'd like to sleep in the house, but he barks too much -- scrounges for food, gets taken to the vet, and generally gets into trouble. He's scruffy and incorrigible -- but he's certainly lovable. Caldecott Award-winning illustrator Alice Provensen's ...

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Overview

He's a bad dog, but you have to love him.

What a day for Murphy, a terrier who hears people yell "Murphy, stop that!" so often, he believes that's what he's called. He wakes up in the barn -- he'd like to sleep in the house, but he barks too much -- scrounges for food, gets taken to the vet, and generally gets into trouble. He's scruffy and incorrigible -- but he's certainly lovable. Caldecott Award-winning illustrator Alice Provensen's endearing terrier will charm young readers, whether they're dog lovers or not.

Murphy, a farm terrier, describes a day in his life as he gets fed in the kitchen, hunts mice, goes to the vet, returns to the house for dinner, investigates a noise outside, and retires to the barn for sleep.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Caldecott Medalist Alice Provensen shows how one farm pooch named Murphy spends his day in this quick-paced, effervescent picture book.

Thinking that his name is "Murphy-Stop-That," the zippy little terrier describes his day as it goes along, always occupied with what's in front of him. Like most dogs, Murphy spends his time snooping around and salivating over food ("Where's the pan? The pan first. Leftovers. Scraps"), with daily highlights of chasing "that dumb cat named Tom" and thinking about "Meat loaf baking. Chicken roasting. Pies spilling over!" Murphy also takes a trip to the vet, where he gets "Pinched...poked... prodded. Doesn't hurt, but get me out of here!" and when the moon comes out that night, Murphy winds up his busy day (after some loud barking that wakes everyone up) with his "Dear sock. Good old bone. Good old stick. Sigh. Good night."

Full of mischief and high energy, Murphy will keep animal lovers giggling. Provensen captures dogs' spirited antics wonderfully, with short, energetic sentences and silly facial expressions that make Murphy a pooch that can speak for all pooches. A howling, fun read for storytime audiences and young readers, too. Matt Warner

The New York Times
What is so refreshing about Alice Provensen's book A Day in the Life of Murphy is the scruffiness of the title character. Murphy may speak in the first person, taking us through the events of his day, but we'd never mistake him for a person in a dog suit. As we watch him raid the pantry, or endure a visit to the vet, or yap at the moon, we can almost smell him, and he smells canine, which in the antiseptic world of picture books is high praise indeed. — Roderick Townley
Publishers Weekly
"Provensen's animated oil paintings follow the amiable, wide-eyed dog through the ups and downs of his day, which ends on a pleasant, predictably noisy note," wrote PW. Ages 3-7. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The author of this book has managed to crawl into the mind of an impish little dog named Murphy who lives with his human family on a farm in the country. The entire text is all Murphy's thoughts with an occasional word from his owner to stop barking! Murphy knows how to beg properly at the table and not get caught. He knows where the food bag is kept and how to steal a bite to eat. He gets nauseous on car rides and is in terror during his vet visit. The illustrations are folksy and whimsical. Young readers will delight in and empathize with all the antics that Murphy gets into during his day. 2003, Simon & Schuster, Ages 3 to 6.
— Sally J. K. Davies
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-Farm terrier, Murphy-Stop-That, shares a day in his life in this fun adaptation of Alice Provensen's picture book (S & S, 2003). Narrator Jason Harris gives Murphy a scrappy personality with an eager demeanor and often breathless voice. The first-person account follows what appears to be an ordinary day in the life of Murphy which turns out to be filled with scads of mischief, lots of food, and even an unwelcome trip to the vet. Provensen illustrates Murphy's day with unusual vocabulary words such as "whirring," "snivel," and "lolling." However, sensitive parents might also be wary of an abundance of the word "dumb" in the text. The narration is brought to life with sound effects and upbeat background music. One side of the recording has page-turn signals.-Jennifer Verbrugge, Dakota County Library, Burnhaven branch, Burnsville, MN Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Not a whole lot happens in Murphy's day beyond scavenging for food, a trip to the vet, and a flurry of late-night barking, but that's not really the point. The point is Murphy himself, a wide-eyed, hairy little terrier whose energy communicates itself through an all-upper-case text and staccato sentences. Murphy appears as a mass of wiry black hair, frequently rendered in multiple across a page to further emphasize his boundless enthusiasm. The oil illustrations feature a flat perspective with liberal use of white space; this provides a static background that further highlights Murphy's antics. Provenson departs from lofty themes, delivering a spot-on interpretation of the inner life of a terrier, and the humor in many of the scenes is priceless. There is so little story that readers who do not share the author's evident enthusiasm for dog psychology may well be unimpressed; dog lovers, however, should lap this up. (Picture book. 4-7)
From the Publisher
"Refreshing...Murphy practically jumps out of your hands...Alice Provensen is certainly an artist, in word and image."
New York Times Book Review

"An assured but simple presentation that will earn this memorably funny dog a place on shelves and in hearts."
School Library Journal, starred review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689848841
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 5/1/2003
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 997,929
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Lexile: 40L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 10.88 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Alice Provensen collaborated with her late husband, Martin, on numerous highly acclaimed picture books, including the Caldecott Medal-winning The Glorious Flight and Nancy Willard's Newbery Medal-winning A Visit to William Blake's Inn, which was also a Caldecott Honor Book. The Provensens have been on the New York Times list of the Ten Best Illustrated Books eight times. Alice lives in California.

Alice Provensen collaborated with her late husband, Martin, on numerous highly acclaimed picture books, including the Caldecott Medal-winning The Glorious Flight and Nancy Willard's Newbery Medal-winning A Visit to William Blake's Inn, which was also a Caldecott Honor Book. The Provensens have been on the New York Times list of the Ten Best Illustrated Books eight times. Alice lives in California.

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Read an Excerpt


"Murphy-Stop-That is my name. I am a terrier. I bark. I bark at anything and everything and all the time."

As he goes through his day -- barking, eating, outsmarting the dumb animals on the farm, putting up with a visit to the vet -- Murphy never loses his doggy enthusiasm, even when he has to sleep out in the barn.

In her charming new tale, acclaimed author and illustrator Alice Provensen shows that every dog -- even a bad dog -- has his day.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2004

    You gotta love Murphy!

    My daughter spied this book in the library last week and picked it because Murphy looks just like our Scottie, Angus. This book is a hoot! The whole family has laughed out loud over Murphy's antics. Provensen has captured the terrier spirit. Murphy runs around with intense focus on what's at hand, but moves quickly on to the next thing--and it's all serious business to him. He's so naughty you have to love him. The artwork is simple and just right. I love the picture of Murphy under the sink! We've enjoyed it so much I've decided to buy a copy; it's not enough to just check it out from the library.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2004

    A Reflection of Murphy's Day

    I would read this book again to my little brothers. There were some very funny sections of the book. For example,most of the animals helped themselves to the food, but Murphy is often times left out. When Murphy decided to bark at the moon this was another amusing situation. I could relate to Murphy not being happy to go to the vet's office. I remember when I was younger, I didn't like to go to the doctor's office either. All in all, this book can be read to others and never be too boring! The author did a fine job making Murphy seem real! This terrier was a loveable character because he seemed well behaved and close to his owner. I would enjoy having a pet like Murphy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2010

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