Tom Amico, Author, James Proimos, Author, James Proimos, Illustrator , illus. by Proimos. Bloomsbury $16.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-58234-877-3

Amico (billed as the AFLAC duck's co-creator) and Proimos, author of the Johnny Mutton series, get some easy laughs at Dad's (and the dog's) expense. "One day my dad had to go out of town," says the boy narrator. "I was just about to tell my sister that I was taking over when the dog came downstairs dressed exactly like Dad." Although readers never see Dad, he apparently favors a garish wardrobe. The gawky blue pooch—whose complacent grin mocks the fatherly role—sports a yellow hat, round-rimmed glasses, a pink shirt and matching purple tie and pants. While driving the car, the dog hangs his head out the window, and he reverts to canine ways at a picnic: "He saw a cat. Unlike Dad, he chased it." Most of the time, he's a combination man/hound, as when he "barked out orders, like Dad" or "brought himself his newspaper and slippers." Amico and Proimos deliver just one concise, deadpan observation per spread. Sight gags reinforce the words, as when the dog hogs the TV remote "like Dad," or casually flips a burger on the grill. Where Proimos's deliberately awkward cartoons seem ideal in his small-scale chapter books, here they fill oversize pages and draw attention to the largely empty, joke-free space. This jab at a traditional head of the household wields a basic father-knows-best humor, yet one go-round is plenty. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 10/11/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
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