It’s hard to explain the beauty of the story The Time Flash Had the Best Day Ever to folks who haven’t read it. The greatest impact comes not from what is said, but what is not said.
During Flash’s best day ever, Flash does not notice that Squirt not only isn’t having the best day ever, like he is; but also that Flash’s own actions are sometimes the cause of Squirt’s woes. The story is about perspective, which is something educators often struggle with when teaching young children.
“The greatest impact comes not from what is said, but what is not said.”
When educators see The Time Flash Had the Best Day Ever, they inevitably say, “I know just the kid who needs to read this.” And then they buy the book on the spot. It’s an awesome feeling, to know that the book is getting into schools and libraries.
Although the story is told from Flash’s perspective, every other page is a wordless full picture of the *whole* story. That’s where we get the impact of Squirt’s emotions. While Flash remains excited and carefree and proud throughout the day, we see a range of emotions from Squirt–annoyance, panic, resentment, disappointment, sadness, and anger.
Early in the day, Flash is excited to have found a new hiding place for his bone!
But when we zoom out to see the whole picture, Squirt is not enjoying this discovery.
Here we are at the end of the day, when Flash is so proud to have won a game of tug-of-war.
…but there’s a much bigger picture.
In the end, when Flash overhears that Squirt had had the worst day ever, he is confused.
We then get the most impactful wordless page*, where Flash reflects back to see exactly how that could be. He’s no longer the focus in his memories–Squirt is.
In the end, Flash hopes that tomorrow is the best day ever for both of them.
“It was awesome for teaching main idea and moral!”
Since the language is simple and the real story is in the pictures, the book is great for English Language Learners. After using the book in her English Language Acquisition class, one educator said, “It was awesome for teaching main idea and moral! …I went on to give each group a different book and they did the same thing. Then they made posters.” (B.T.)
Some reviews include:
“I am an occupational therapist and think that this book is amazing for helping kids think about perspective taking and inferring from pictures. These are concepts that many kids struggle to understand, and especially kids with ASD. The illustrations are engaging and there are many great connections to be had to engage children with in this book.” (AD)
“The story presents many opportunities for a discussion on perspective and consideration for others.”
“This is a wonderful children’s book that focuses on frame of reference and deductive reasoning through an engaging story and descriptive illustrations. The story presents many opportunities for a discussion on perspective and consideration for others. Great for reading to your children as well as for those learning to and/or reading on their own.” (SM)
“… There is even a lesson in the story about perspective which we used to talk about being aware of how others might view certain situations differently from how we are experiencing them.” (KPM)
“… I also love the way the book shows us how a situation can be perceived in a number of different ways. A great little lesson for the kids, without being too heavy-handed about it.” (ED)
“Everyone will get something out of this.”
When I offered to do a reading to a kindergarten class, the school principal said, “You could read it to all the grades. Everyone will get something out of this.” That’s the thing about this book: everyone can use a refresher in awareness of the feelings going on around you, and your impact on those feelings.
Children who understand how things look from another’s point of view will make more empathetic adults.