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TELL ME THE DAY BACKWARDS by Albert Lamb Kirkus Star


by Albert Lamb and illustrated by David McPhail

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: March 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7636-5055-1
Publisher: Candlewick

Gentle storytelling and a clever concept set this bedtime book apart from the pack. A little bear asks his mama to tell him what they did that day, only backwards. Together, the two of them recount Timmy’s adventures and quiet moments, from taking an unexpected dip in a pool to eating some delicious honey to seeing a pack of beautiful purple butterflies. When they’ve gone through the whole day, back to the beginning, Mama reminds Timmy that before anything happened they were hibernating but that tonight they’ll just sleep one night. Inspired by a game his own family played, Lamb’s simple effect-and-cause backwards progression manages to always make perfect sense. “I ran and jumped off a high, high rock into the deep pool,” Timmy recalls. “And before that?” prompts his mother: “I was chased by bees, and they were stinging me!” Kids may take a couple readings to fully grasp the author’s intent, but few books illustrate the notion of “before” better than this. McPhail’s always playful and evocative illustrations set against a beautiful countryside perfectly capture this original way of remembering a day’s events. An exceptional idea and a truly fine follow through. (Picture book. 4-8)