Papa's Stories

Delores Johnson, Author, Dolores M. Johnson, Author MacMillan Publishing Company $14.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-02-747847-1
Kari, a cheerful African American child, waits each day for her father to come home from work so that she can snuggle into his lap as he reads her a book. Her favorite (featuring a familiar heroine in a red, hooded cloak) he calls ``the story of Little Miss Too-Big-for-Her-Red-Britches.'' As he does with other tales, Papa changes the story each time he reads it. One day, ``an older neighbor girl'' reads the proper title on the cherished book, and Kari (in a not entirely believable epiphany) suddenly concludes that her father cannot read. She confronts her mother, who remarks that ``there should be no secrets between children and their parents'' and advises her to talk to Papa. Johnson's plot then becomes rather confusing: Papa admits that he never learned to read as a child, but shows her that he can indeed read now, since Kari's mother has recently taught him. On the final page, one of Johnson's cozy watercolor and colored-pencil illustrations shows father and daughter sharing a book together, with Kari saying that she prefers his original, ``extra-special'' way of reading stories. Though sweet and well-intentioned, Johnson's story muddles its message. Ages 5-8. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/1994
Release date: 03/01/1994
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