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A Day's Work
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K-Gr 3‘A charming story about an elderly man who has just come from Mexico to live with his daughter and grandson Francisco in California. The boy convinces a man to hire him and his Abuelo by saying that ``...my grandfather is a fine gardener, though he doesn't know English yet,'' in spite of the fact that he has always lived in the city and worked as a carpenter. After their new employer drives off in his van, the two set to work‘but they pull up all of the plants and leave the weeds. ``We do not lie for work,'' Abuelo tells Francisco when he learns what they have done, and they return the next day to rectify their mistake for no extra pay. Bunting perfectly captures the intergenerational love and respect shared by these two characters and the man's strong sense of honesty and integrity. Himler's softly colored illustrations reflect the feelings of the characters and the setting.‘Jessie Meudell, California Polytechnic University at Pomona

"Bunting perfectly captures the intergenerational love and respect shared by these two characters and the man's strong sense of honesty and integrity. Himler's softly colored illustrations reflect the feelings of the characters and setting." School Library Journal "Bunting perfectly captures the intergenerational love and respect shared by these two characters and the man's strong sense of honesty and integrity. Himler's softly colored illustrations reflect the feelings of the characters and setting." SLJ Best Books of the Year

Francisco, trying to find work for his grandfather, or abuelo, who has just arrived from Mexico, acts as a liaison between Abuelo, who doesn't speak English, and Ben, who wants to hire a gardener for a day's work. Eager to earn the badly needed pay, Francisco assures Ben that his grandfather is a skilled gardener (Abuelo is in fact a carpenter). Returning at the end of the day, Ben is shocked to discover that Francisco and Abuelo stripped his field of the plants and left the weeds. Abuelo is also angered, learning only now that Francisco had lied to Ben, and refuses payment until they have done the job correctly. Recognizing the older man's integrity, Ben rewards Abuelo and Francisco with the promise of ``more than just one day's work.'' Says Ben of the plants: ``The roots are still there. If they've replanted early, they'll be alright.'' Similarly, Francisco is given a chance to start over. He changes from a naïvely parental figure to a child who ``had begun to learn the important things.'' The shift in the boy's role quietly suggests not only the importance of a work ethic but also Francisco's need to be a child, guided by a caring adult. With expressive, gestural watercolors, Himler, who illustrated Bunting's Fly Away Home and Someday a Tree, conveys the boy's complex relationship with his grandfather and strongly invokes both the harsh and the tender landscapes of Francisco's world. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)

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