Pearl and Wagner: One Funny Day

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Pearl and Wagner: One Funny Day Book Poster Image
Mouse’s bad day makes a relatable, engaging easy reader.

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Kids say

age 5+
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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value
Positive Messages

Wagner laments repeatedly: "This is not my day!" But he doesn't lash out at anyone, and he gamely trudges through his day. He eventually realizes that the best way to shake his bad mood is to actively join in the fun.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Rejected by his friend in the dance contest, Wagner is angry -- but he confidently seeks out a new partner. And later, despite the disappointments of the day, he comes up with his own practical joke and is able to join in the fun.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know there is nothing to be concerned about in this school tale. Wagner isn't coping well with the day, but the practical jokes are harmless and no one treats him unkindly.

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Kid, 10 years old April 22, 2010

What's the story?

Wagner’s day starts badly when he oversleeps and is late for school. But it gets worse as friends and teachers trick him with April Fools’ Day jokes. He doesn’t find it funny, and he isn’t sure what’s a joke and what isn’t. When his teacher announces a math test, he thinks that’s a joke too -- but it isn’t. The day gets worse when his friend Pearl won’t be his dance partner in gym class. Finally, Wagner is able to turn his day around -- by playing a practical joke of his own.

Is it any good?

The third in the series by Kate McMullan and R.W. Alley, ONE FUNNY DAY offers relatable material, appealing characters, fun text, and short chapters. Young readers and their parents will readily empathize with poor Wagner, who isn’t in the mood for April Fools’ Day shenanigans and doesn’t like being on the receiving end of all the practical jokes. Nothing seems to be going right for him, and even worse, everyone else is having so much fun. It’s a lonely, frustrating feeling, and Alley’s illustrations capture his dejection.

The easy-to-read text is broken up into manageable chunks by Alley’s engaging artwork. The relatable plot will likely encourage reluctant readers to keep turning the pages.

Expressive, lively, and funny artwork adds great appeal to the story.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about practical jokes. Do you like it when someone plays a practical joke on you? How do you feel if they keep tricking you?

  • Do you like to play practical jokes? What jokes might you try on April Fools' Day?

  • What do you do when you're having a bad day? How do you try to turn it around?

Book details

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