Reviews for Hey, Al

Publishers Weekly
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This Caldecott Medal winner tells of a journey to paradise and the discovery that home is best. Ages 3-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal
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K Up The theme here is, ``be happy with who you are,'' or maybe, ``there's no free lunch.'' Al, a janitor, lives a meager existence with his companion (dog) Eddie in New York City. They complain to each other about their lot and are ready to take off to a better place with a huge bird who just pops in and invites them. This ``island in the sky'' is perfect. All its inhabitants are friendly birds, and there's nothing to do but enjoy the tropical paradise. But when they both begin to sprout feathers and beaks, they realize that there is a price to pay, so they take off, Icarus-styleincluding a plunge into New York Harbor. Safely home, they discover that ``Paradise lost is sometimes Heaven found.'' Egielski's solid naturalism provides just the visual foil needed to establish the surreal character of this fantasy. The muted earth tones of the one-room flat contrast symbolically with the bright hues of the birds' plumage and the foliage of the floating paradise. The anatomical appropriateness of Al and Eddie plays neatly against the flamboyant depiction of the plants. Text and pictures work together to challenge readers' concept of reality, with touches such as the stacks of delivered newspapers outside Al's door when he returns fromhis ``dream''? Kenneth Marantz, Art Education Department, Ohio State University, Columbus (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A New York City janitor and his dog, Eddie, make a temporary escape to a fantastic land of birds, but discover that the price is too high. Al is content, but Eddie wants more space than their one messy room; so when a giddily colored bird offers the two a worry-free alternative, they accept. He transports them to a paradise of sorts: lush vegetation, a marvelous array of gaudy, surreal birds to respond to their every whim. ""But ripe fruit soon spoils."" Noticing that they are being transformed into birds, Eddie and Al make a quick escape to their dingy home. ""Paradise lost is sometimes Heaven found,"" and Al is last seen patching and painting. This fable is related with sly wit made more pungent by its brevity. In the same spirit, Egielski's full-color illustrations derive much of their humor from their realism. The drab colors and geometric forms of the city contrast with the luxuriant Eden. Both verbally and pictorially, the relationship between the friends is funny and touching. A clever idea well realized by an inspired pair in their fourth collaboration. Kids will chuckle over this one. Copyright ŠKirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Al, a modest janitor, and his dog Eddie are spirited away to a wonderful new life by a mysterious bird, but they soon learn that paradise has its price and home has its rewards. Energetic, thought-provoking illustrations. The 1987 Caldecott Medal Book. (Ja 1 87)


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Gr. 2-4. Al and his dog, Eddie, learn that the grass is not always greener even in paradise in this rich blending of picture and story. (Ja 1 87)

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