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Picture Day Perfection

Picture Day Perfection

4.0 1
by Deborah Diesen

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It's picture day, and the boy at the center of this charming picture book wants to make sure his picture is perfect. It seems as though everything's going wrong for him—he has bedhead, a stained shirt, and a big scowl on his face. But when he goes up for his picture, he thinks about his terrible appearance, and he smiles—because he secretly wants his


It's picture day, and the boy at the center of this charming picture book wants to make sure his picture is perfect. It seems as though everything's going wrong for him—he has bedhead, a stained shirt, and a big scowl on his face. But when he goes up for his picture, he thinks about his terrible appearance, and he smiles—because he secretly wants his picture to be the worst ever taken! But just as he smiles, the photo is snapped and his plan is ruined—the photo looks great. Perfectly paired with the larger-than-life silliness of Dan Santat's illustrations, this is sure to be a schoolroom favorite.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Things could not be going more wrong for the narrator on school picture day, which starts with “the worst case of bedhead ever” and a maple syrup accident, then culminates in some serious paint spattering during art class. What a disaster on the very day one is being captured for posterity—or is it? What if the boy is actually running a long con, and his idea of perfection is in fact a photo that captures “my perfectly tangled hair, my perfectly rumpled shirt, my perfectly sticky face, my perfectly composed scowl”? Diesen (The Pout-Pout Fish) and Santat (The Three Ninja Pigs) are good-natured storytellers, and Santat’s expertise in exaggeration is just what the premise ordered (as the camera prepares to flash, the boy becomes a dead ringer for the Grinch). While the narrator’s personality never quite gels—either as sad sack or messy mastermind—Diesen and Santat unveil the narrator’s secret at just the right moment, before unloading another twist that should trigger photo-worthy grins. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Alyssa Eisner Henkin, Trident Media Group. Illustrator’s agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Christy Devillier
For months, a boy has been anticipating one of the biggest moments of the school year, a tradition that goes back generations: picture day. When it finally rolls around, all sorts of obstacles threaten his dream of picture day perfection: a bad case of bedhead, his favorite shirt beset with stains, and mishaps with pancake syrup and paint. Getting into trouble on the morning school bus and with his teacher only sours his mood. While waiting in line for photos, his thoughts inevitably turn to cheese, and the resulting queasiness renders his face pea green. When his turn arrives, he sits on the stool and recalls the "monstrous messes, muddles, and mix-ups" of the day. But instead of feeling dejected, he smiles with impish glee; the worst picture is just what he wants. Just then the camera flashes, capturing the boy's genuine expression of joy—and spoiling his "hard work." Diesen, a New York Times best-selling author, delivers a fun story that will surely resonate with both parents and school-age children who have experienced the nervous excitement of picture day. Kids will appreciate the boy's mischief and misdeeds, as well as the goofy illustrations and clever surprise ending. One unusual bonus is a special frame, attached to the inside back cover, for holding a school photo. Reviewer: Christy Devillier
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—Bold, exaggerated images done in Adobe Photoshop set the comedic stage for this story of picture-day preparation, which for the narrator began months in advance. All the preplanning culminates at the start of the book on picture-day morning with severe bed head, a favorite shirt rescued (stained and smelly) from the bottom of the hamper, and a sticky maple-syrup incident. Things continue on in this vein throughout the school day. Readers will wonder about the narrator's choices considering his professed devotion to taking the perfect picture. Carefully worded text gives away nothing, but as the photographer prepares his camera the real plan for the day comes clearly into focus. The child's idea of the perfect picture may look quite different from what his mother had in mind, and it is still not easy to orchestrate the outcome of a photograph. Colorful yearbook-style endpapers are fun to pore over and even include a place to insert one's own picture, though this feature will be compromised by most library processing. This slapstick picture book will appeal most to school-age kids who will get the jokes peppered throughout the text and the visuals.—Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA
Kirkus Reviews
A clever tale about a kid who wants this year to be his showcase for the perfect school picture. The unnamed narrator might as well be called Wisenheimer. He tells readers that he really is excited about making this year's school photo the best ever, but they've got a right to wonder. He doesn't try to curb his hair--it's "the worst case of bedhead ever"--or find an alternative to his favorite shirt, which is found stained, wrinkled and smelly in the bottom of the hamper. He gets syrup all over his head at breakfast (it somehow magically disappears in what film critics would call a "continuity error"), then into a touch of spitball trouble with the bus driver, which puts a scowl on his face when he has to sit up front. Readers may start to catch on after he gets paint on himself in art class: Maybe Wisenheimer is just a standard slobby kid, and the perfect photo was never fated to be. Then the story turns on a dime, and then on another dime, and maybe more attention should have been paid to that bedhead, which does look somewhat like the devil's horns. Diesen has crafted a nice piece of work, and Santat's Photoshop illustrations have a polish that heightens the immediacy of the moment. This tale of a young Wisenheimer is plenty crafty and features a satisfyingly fitting requital. (Picture book. 4-8)

Product Details

Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
File size:
11 MB
This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years


Meet the Author

Deborah Diesen is the author of The Pout-Pout Fish, a New York Times bestseller and one of TIME's top 10 children’s books of 2008. She lives in Michigan. Dan Santat is the illustrator of many books for children, including Kel Gilligan's Daredevil Stunt Show. He lives in California.

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Picture Day Perfection 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
It’s true, you plan and you plan but sometimes things just don’t turn out how you want them to. Picture Day, that day in school where some children dress up, they try to smile just right, get that plastic comb from the photographer at school for finishing touches on their hair but when they get their pictures back in a month or so, they look forward to next year where they will finally get it all right. In this book, this boy plans for months on getting the perfect school picture. His morning begins with a bad hair day, a messy breakfast, bus issues, the wrong background color for the shirt that he wore and a few other issues that would definitely make a bad school picture. As the photographer gets ready to snap his picture, the boy contemplates what his picture will be like. Click! The ending will surprise you.