cover image Just My Dad & Me

Just My Dad & Me

Leah Komaiko. HarperCollins Publishers, $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-06-024573-3

Though the young narrator of Komaiko's (Annie Bananie) disjointed verse would like to spend time alone with her father, it just doesn't happen. First pictured in swimsuits at the end of a dock (""I'm going to sea/ Just my dad and me""), the two are soon joined by a suffocating throng: ""Now here comes Mom/ she's bringing dozens/ of uncles and great aunts,/ now here come my cousins./ They all want to go out to sea./ With just my dad and me."" The girl calls on her imagination to override her disappointment: when her parents playfully toss her into the water, she dives to the ocean floor. There the child swims with an intriguing assortment of sea creatures, deftly depicted in Greene's (Backyard Bear) meticulously detailed illustrations that are especially effective in conveying movement. At first content to be alone with her fish friends, the heroine later decides that she needs air, sun and-no surprise-her family, and soars to the surface once again. But despite the inventive juxtaposition of realism and fantasy, the choppy text and uneven rhyme make for less than smooth sailing. Ages 3-6. (May)