Perfect Picture Book Friday: The Retired Kid

Are you ready for a brisk fall weekend?

That’s right…it’s FRIDAY!

And you know what that means—a Perfect Picture Book to review.

I mentioned last week that I’m writing a book about a boy who wants to play on his tablet more than anything else. He’s had enough of school, soccer, and all the other activities his mom wants him to do.

So when I found this awesome book, I knew it was another one I could use as a mentor text. And the funny thing is, even though I had never read it before, the activities the boy in this book wants to avoid, are pretty much the same ones as my main character. I guess that goes to show what many writing classes have taught me…there are only a couple of stories in the world. And my mission, should I choose to accept it (just saw Mission Impossible 4), is to put a unique spin or twist on it and tell it in my own voice.



Written and illustrated by Jon Agee

Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children (2008)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Be yourself

Opening Lines:

“It’s hard work being a kid. First of all, there’s school.”


From Amazon:

“It’s been a wonderful eight years, but I need a break.”

At the Happy Sunset Retirement Community, there’s Ethel, Myrtle, Harvey, and Tex.  And then there’s Brian.  The retired kid. He’s here to escape school, homework, and daily chores.

But retired living has its challenges, especially when you’re sixty years younger than everybody else!

Why I like this book:

  • Don’t we all feel like retiring from our responsibilities? This book gives kids a totally hilarious look at how that might be for them.
  • Author/illustrator Jon Agee perfectly matches the simple text to the bold colorful illustrations.
  • Love the message of loving who you are and appreciating the life you have.


How a parent can use this book:

  • Wonderful read aloud
  • Great book to encourage discussion of the importance of being yourself
  • Springboard for possibly volunteering at a local senior facility – your child’s handmade card or picture would brighten the day of an older person


Cheerios happy face

Handmade Card

The most expensive gifts in the world don’t mean as much as something you took your time to make. Many years ago, my young son made a card in his Sunday School class. It was delivered to an elderly home-bound lady. Her husband wrote my son a letter to thank him for bringing joy to his wife who was blind. Running her fingers over the card, she could tell how much time and effort Peter had taken because he had glued so many buttons, sequins, and ribbons on it.

Do you have a senior facility nearby? Or perhaps there is an elderly relative or neighbor who would appreciate this token of thoughtfulness and love?

You will need: A piece of construction paper, buttons/sequins/ribbons/small cereal or pasta (whatever little attachments you have available), glue, markers or crayons.

  1. Fold the paper in half.
  2. Let your child decorate the front of the card by glueing on the little additions.
  3. Write a message from your child inside.
  4. Deliver to someone who needs a lift.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I hope you all have a beautiful weekend.

I’m really excited for tomorrow’s Picture Book Summit – hosted by Julie Hedlund, Emma Walton Hamilton, Laura Backes, and Katie Davis – WOW! It’s an all-day webinar that will feature presentations from all of these rock stars, as well as several BIG-NAME authors, like Peter Brown, Andrea Davis Pickney, and Mac Barnett! Hope to see some of you there.


About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever Mom of 3, educator, author of FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (Pomegranate Press, 2019), PIPPA'S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, 2019), FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY WE MOVE (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, 2019), picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, fly-fishing, cooking, and playing Monopoly with my 9-year old grandson.

Posted on October 2, 2015, in Chicago, Crafts for kids, Perfect Picture Book Friday, Picture book reviews and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. I’m glad you found this one! This is the one I mentioned to you at WOW!


  2. I read this back in June or July. Such a good choice. I’m so glad you’ve added it to the PPBF list. Thanks.


  3. Ha. What a great title! Thanks as always for your very thorough review Vivian!


  4. I’m obsessed with Jon Agee’s books!!!


  5. this looks too fun to pass up!


  6. I just saw this book, Vivian! One of my friends bought it as a retirement gift for her brother, and it was so much fun! During the party, his 8 year old grandson read parts of it aloud.


  7. Sounds like I need to check this one out! Thanks for sharing.


  8. I KNOW that my son would like to retire from homework (big sigh), activities not involving computer screens (big sigh), chores (HUGE sigh), and picking up after himself (even HUGER sigh). Oh, the work of childhood is never done! I’m going to have to give this one a peek. My son knows all about nursing homes, given that my father spent three years in one. I think that gave him some bit of empathy toward elderly people who don’t have much excitement (of the childhood kind) in their lives. Great book, Vivian!


  9. I just love the line, “It’s been a hard eight years. I’m ready for a break.” Cracks me up! Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday this week!


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