cover image Just Like My Dad

Just Like My Dad

Tricia Gardella. HarperCollins Publishers, $15 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-06-021937-6

In Gardella's amiable first book, a boy's upbeat, first-person narrative chronicles his day working on the ranch--alongside his dad. The two don cowboy hats, chaps and spurs in preparation for a long day of chores. Father and son spend the morning mending fence; though it's a demanding task, the boy cheerfully insists that ``work isn't work when I'm with my dad.'' After describing lunch with the old cowhands who ``start spinning stories about how it was long ago,'' the youngster goes on to say how much he loves the herding, roping and branding of the cattle. But the best part of the day is bedtime, when his dad tucks him in: ``I never get tired of hearing him say that one day I will be a great cowhand . . . just like his father.'' Rendered in oil pastels and pencil, Apple's ( Sheep in a Jeep ; Sheep in a Shop ; et al.) jolly, dappled illustrations ably convey the narrator's enthusiasm and his emulation of his dad. Together, text and pictures compose an endearing portrait of a devoted father and son. Ages 3-6. (May)