Yes Day!

Book review by
Jan Carr, Common Sense Media
Yes Day! Book Poster Image
Joyous charmer of a book celebrates a whole day of yeses.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Street sign to read: "NO SAYING NO." Also to read: store signs and cereal box labels. Calendar month pictured with 30 days. Endpapers are also a calendar month with days of the week, featuring many variations of ways to say no.

Positive Messages

Sometimes it's fun to do things you don’t ordinarily get to do. It feels good to get the A-OK when you ask to do things. Parents can bend the rules when the request isn't dangerous or expensive.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The boy has a spirit of fun and enjoys trying to do things differently. He doesn't ask for anything that's dangerous or costs much money. His requests are creative, "Can we invent our own game?" He has a close, happy relationship with his parents, who also have a spirit of fun and are easygoing. He knows the day's special, and revels in the fun.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Yes Day! is by the late, beloved kids' author Amy Krouse Rosenthal, with illustrator Tom Lichtenheld, a pair that produced other warm, fun collaborations (Duck! Rabbit!, I Wish You More). The premise and text are simple: A boy wakes up and sees on the calendar that it's "Yes Day," a day when all his requests will be greeted with a yes. Pizza for breakfast? Yes. Food fight? Yes. Nothing the boy asks for is dangerous or involves buying much more than an ice cream cone, and since kids live in a world where grown-ups often dole out knee-jerk nos, parents should be prepared for kids to clamor for their own Yes Day. Will you say no, or how might you offer a yes?

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What's the story?

YES DAY! "is my FAVORITE day of the year!" proclaims the young narrator. When he asks for pizza for breakfast, the answer's yes. "Can I clean my room tomorrow?" Yes again. At the grocery, he gets to toss lots of sugary cereals into the cart, then asks for and gets an ice cream cone at the end of errands. Food fight? Yes. Friend for dinner? Yes. At the boy's request, he and his dad stay up late watching scary movies, then lie out in the grass, staring up at the moon and stars. "Does this day have to end?" Yes. But the boy goes to sleep with a promise: "See you again next year!"

Is it any good?

It's easy to say yes to a book this joyful, exuberant, and full of innocent fun. Yes Day! is a keeper, perfect for sharing a knowing wink with your kids. Do you often say no to their requests? Of course. And do they sometimes ask for outlandish things? Affirmative. But the requests author Amy Krouse Rosenthal features in the book are all within parental reach and feel sweet and connected. This kid doesn't ask to play video games or for kicks that break the bank. He asks for pizza for breakfast, lunch outside, and a friend to come for dinner. Well, OK, there's a food fight. But that's pictured outside, and most of what’s thrown looks like windfall apples. The boy addresses the reader directly at the start -- "Just watch, you'll see what I mean" -- and again at the end -- "See you again next year!" -- waving readers into the fun.

Tom Lichtenheld's art is full of gentle humor. The boy's irresistibly tousle-haired, and readers have to turn the page to find out if his requests are granted. The boy, dripping wet at the bathroom mirror, asks to use hair gel, and then we see he's spiked it for the family photo with a professional photographer. A street sign on a lamppost proclaims, "NO SAYING NO." And the endpapers hilariously picture a calendar month of days dedicated to different ways of saying no: When Pigs Fly Day, Over My Dead Body Day. Though the last day -- hurray! -- is Yes Day!

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Parents can talk about the feeling of hearing yes in Yes Day! Does it often feel like adults always say no? What would you ask for if you knew the answer would be yes?

  • How many of the boy's requests are activities? How many are things to buy? Do you think it's more fun to do things or to buy things? Are any of the requests dangerous?

  • What are the funniest parts of the story to you? What are the funniest parts of the art?

Book details

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