cover image Daddy Doesn't Have to Be a Giant Anymore

Daddy Doesn't Have to Be a Giant Anymore

Jane Resh Thomas. Clarion Books, $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-395-69427-5

Although you wouldn't know it from either the title or the cover illustration, this book--like Richard Langsen's and Nicole Rubel's When Someone in the Family Drinks Too Much (Children's Forecasts, June 17)--tackles the subject of a parent's alcoholism and its impact on children. Where Langsen and Rubel offer a comprehensive discussion and take a bracingly candid approach, Resh and Sewall (previously paired for Saying Goodbye to Grandma), focus more narrowly and more softly, describing one family's struggles from a young daughter's point of view. As long as Daddy doesn't sneak into the garage to drink whiskey, he's good company--the narrator recalls rocking on the porch swing, gardening together and going on family outings to the park. But he's downright scary when he's drinking and starts acting ""like an angry giant."" After a painful summer, Mommy convenes friends and family (the narrator included) and they hold an intervention, successfully convincing Daddy to seek treatment. Thomas probes the girl's tangle of feelings gracefully and sensitively; Sewall's equally graceful watercolors, with their slightly smudged lines and cheerful palette, help take the edge off the grim subject while implicitly reminding readers that alcoholism strikes ""normal"" families too. Ages 5-9. (Aug.)