Most Perfect Spot

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It's a sunny morning, and Jack knows the perfect spot to take Mama for a picnic -- the park, of course!

But things don't work out as Jack planned! There are lots of lively surprises before he and Mama find their picnic spot -- one as unexpected and familiar as it is perfect. The friendly, funny story of ...

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Overview

It's a sunny morning, and Jack knows the perfect spot to take Mama for a picnic -- the park, of course!

But things don't work out as Jack planned! There are lots of lively surprises before he and Mama find their picnic spot -- one as unexpected and familiar as it is perfect. The friendly, funny story of their day unfolds in breezy, energetic pictures filled with

quacking ducks,
high-stepping horses,
frisky dogs, and
yakety-yaking people.

When mishaps happen, children will especially enjoy the refrain "who knows why" because they'll know why! And they'll welcome the biggest and best surprise that's been saved for last.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The earnest young protagonist of Goode's (When I Was Young in the Mountains) tale immediately endears himself to readers as he brings his mother breakfast in bed, along with a card stating, "I know the most perfect spot for a picnic." Mama dons her pink, wide-brimmed hat, and the two leave their early 20th-century Brooklyn apartment and head to the park, where several seemingly ideal picnic spots turn out to be anything but. After they climb into a rowboat, a flock of flapping ducks startles them, and they land in the lake. The two spread out their blanket on a sunny expanse of grass, only to be splattered with mud when horseback riders "clippety-clop" past them. As the rain starts to come down (pitter-patter-pitter, pat..."), the duo finally gives up. In each case, the narrative repeats, "It seemed like the most perfect spot, but... suddenly," the last two words appearing in large, hot-pink type. This repetition, as well as the onomatopoeic sound effects and bustling pictures of the primly dressed parent and child undergoing all manner of mishaps, make for a winning read-aloud. Along the way, kids will delight in spying the little dog (with a brown fur patch over one eye) who is responsible for most of the mayhem-and who returns Mama's now-ragged hat after wrestling it from the pooch that purloined it. They take in the heroic dog and name him Spot-"the most perfect Spot." The book exudes a timeless charm and is, in fact, spot-on. Ages 4-8. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Jack and his mama set off for Prospect Park one morning, where he is sure he knows "the most perfect spot for a picnic." What seems like the first perfect spot is by the lake. "But...suddenly, who knows why..." a flock of ducks surprise Mama into the lake. At the next spot, again "But...suddenly..." horseback riders splash them with mud. The safe-looking carousel suddenly goes so fast that Mama loses her hat. Seated in the meadow as clouds gather, they are caught in a rain shower. They run and decide that home must be the best spot for their picnic. Meanwhile, sharp-eyed readers will notice a spotted dog has rescued Mama's hat. When he brings it to them, they call him "the most perfect Spot" as well. The spunky canine appears in a vignette on the title page and the two following pages; thus we are led into the story even before we meet Jack and Mama. The dog appears as a frequent motif with no mention in the text at all. After he joins the picnic at home, it is fun to go back and locate the dog in the other pictures. Goode uses a nervous black line and transparent watercolors to put us in the time and place of the characters. The text is rich in descriptive words and sounds; the pictures are rich in detail and action. 2006, HarperCollins Publishers, and Ages 4 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
When sweet little Jack invites his mother on an outing to Prospect Park, he assures her that he knows the most perfect spot for a picnic. But—"Who knows why?"—a flock of ducks causes a boating mishap, galloping horses splatter mud, a mechanical miscue spoils their carousel ride, and a pack of barking dogs disrupts their picnic. Finally, as pouring rain provides the ultimate picnic-dampener, Jack concludes ruefully, "This park does NOT have the most perfect spot for a picnic," and Jack and Mama flee home to have their picnic there. The affection between Jack and Mama is palpable, the escalating misadventures offer plenty of interest to the story, and children are sure to enjoy chiming in for the repeated refrain, "Who knows why?" A careful look at Goode's lively, merry illustrations answers the question: a lovable little stray dog with a brown spot over one eye proves to be both the reason why no other picnic spot can be perfect, and why home in the end turns out to be the most perfect spot of all. Delightful fun from start to finish.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-Jack invites his mother on a picnic, but the outing appears doomed from the start. The boy's first choice for the lunch in Prospect Park is a boat, but something frightens a flock of ducks, which in turn startles Mama and Jack, causing them both to fall in the lake. A picnic on the grass while their clothing dries turns into a disastrous affair when something spooks several horses, and they toss up mud in their haste to run away. Undaunted, the mother and son make other attempts to lunch only to face one mishap after another. When rain drives them indoors, they finally find the perfect spot for their picnic. They also discover that a small brown-and-white dog has followed them home; they take him in and name him (what else?) Spot. "Suddenly, who knows why," is the story's refrain, which will guarantee audience participation. Mama and Jack remain clueless as to the cause of the day's constant disruptions while readers will clearly see that the pooch has been the source of the chaos. Watercolor illustrations depict an affable multihued cast of characters and a warm parent/child relationship while exuding a pleasant, old-fashioned flavor. A delightful tale.-Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A little boy and his mother search for the perfect "spot" for their picnic-and eventually find it. When Jack invites his mama to the perfect spot for a picnic, she dons her best hat and they walk to Prospect Park. When they find the perfect spot by the lake, a flock of ducks upsets their boat. When they find the perfect spot to dry off in the sun, riders on horseback splatter them with mud. When they find the perfect spot riding the carousel, Mama gets dizzy and loses her hat. And when they finally find a spot in a meadow, it starts to pour, forcing them to run home where they find the most perfect spot of all. Set amid the brownstones, streetcars and small shops of early 20th-century urban America, the "most perfect" animated line and watercolor illustrations capture the comic events of this memorable day in the park. Sharp little eyes will discover a recurring detail in the drawings that gives the title a whole new meaning. Perfectly charming. (Picture book. 4-8)
Booklist
“Full of amusing details and nice touches”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060726973
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
  • Publication date: 5/2/2006
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Diane Goode was born in Brooklyn, New York, and has a BA in fine arts from Queens College. Her distinguished list of picture books begins with the Caldecott Honor winner When I Was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant. She lives and works in Watchung, New Jersey, with her husband, David, and their two dogs, Jack and Daisy.

Diane Goode was born in Brooklyn, New York, and has a BA in fine arts from Queens College. Her distinguished list of picture books begins with the Caldecott Honor winner When I Was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant. She lives and works in Watchung, New Jersey, with her husband, David, and their two dogs, Jack and Daisy.

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