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When I began to research books to include on my honesty booklist, I came across A Day's Work by Eve Bunting, in lots of my research. Though I generally try to get books from the library before I buy them, neither our school nor local library had this in its collection. I figured anything written by Bunting would be a safe bet to buy sight-unseen, so I scrounged around online to find a way to get this one anyway. And y'all, I am SO glad that we own this important book. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Covering honesty, immigration, language barriers, intergenerational relationships, and more, you can read this one over and over and over again with a different takeaway every time! In A Day's Work, Francisco is trying to help his grandfather, who just moved to California two days ago and speaks no English, find work for a day. Discouraged about their chances, Francisco tells a potential employer that his grandfather is "a fine gardener," though he's actually a carpenter with little to no gardening experience. Francisco feels confident that his lie has worked. But when the boss comes back to check on them, rather than being pleased, he's angry... They've pulled out all the flowers and left the weeds! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Angry at first, Abuelo quickly gains his control and an understanding of Francisco's lie and instructs Francisco to let the boss know that they will come back tomorrow and fix the problem that they've caused. Though Francisco is reluctant to give up another weekend day to work, Abuelo reminds him that "it is the price of the lie." ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ And this is the beauty of this book. The price of a lie... What a powerful lesson for a child to learn. Our lies always have prices, even though we may think we've gotten away with them initially. Ben is willing to continue to work with Abuelo, because of his integrity. Because he already knows the important things... The importance of honesty, of hard work, of making our wrongs right. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Do you have a favorite Eve Bunting book? We also love One Green Apple, Night Tree, and Yard Sale. You can bet I've put in a request to our local library system to add this to its collection!
On Saturday morning, young Francisco waits with his abuelo (grandfather) with other day laborers, hoping for a day's work. In order to persuade a potential employer to choose them, Francisco claims his grandfather is a gardener, even though he is actually a carpenter. It is only at the end of the day that the lie is found out. Then Abuelo shows Francisco the value of integrity, admonishing, "We do not lie for work," and taking steps to make restitution.
Bunting's understated text, written from the child's perspective, expresses the raw desperation that the most poverty-stricken people experience daily, helping the reader understand why Francisco would tell such a lie. But his grandfather's personal honor proves that, regardless of circumstances, even the lowest labor carries dignity and worth when it is carried out with self-respect.
This is a serious story, and even illustrated with Himler's wonderful paintings it retains a somber mood that might not draw readers in as easily as more lighthearted books. But it provides a vital, sympathetic glimpse into the world of immigrant day laborers while demonstrating the moral importance of honesty. It's a beautifully moving book which will help cultivate love and compassion for others.
Such a cute book! Very awesome lesson to the child about good work ethic and honesty! The boy and his grandfather are looking for work in America and they go to help a gardening company. The boy lies that his grandfather (who doesn’t speak any English) is a master gardener so they get taken on for the day. They end up not doing the job right and it’s so darling what the grandpa does to make amends!
Absolutely beautiful: in words, in illustrations, in the values it highlights. I bought it because I was looking for books about lying and this addresses the topic, but it's so much more! It's also so refreshing for a kids book to have a protagonist that is the grandkid of a migrant worker. The story illuminates the perspective of the little boy, the grandpa, the gardener. All around so well done and full of wisdom and empathy. Also both of my kids love it and request it frequently!
Let me begin by saying that I am a big fan of Eve Bunting and admire her for writing about people who otherwise receive little attention in stories. "A Day's Work" is worthy of that reputation. It is a story of day laborers from Mexico; moreover, it describes how the whole family pulls together to make ends meet (a theme that Francisco Jimenez beautifully explores in "The Circuit/Cajas de Carton). Though it's a simple story, there are several surprise twists. As with her other stories, Eve Bunting tells this one with her characteristic sensitivity without indulging in, you know, the mushy stuff. This book will enable children and adults alike to take a new look at honesty and, as the title says, a day's work.
Eve Bunting is one of my favorite young adult authors. This story is great for elementary age children who can read it themselves. It is also good for somewhat younger kids; I read it to my 4-year-old grandson who enjoyed it and asked good questions. It raises several issues: immigrants who might have difficulties with a new language and culture, the bond between a boy and his grandfather, and a work ethic. The illustrations add to the charm of the book.