cover image Animal Dads

Animal Dads

Sneed B. Collard, III. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-83621-7

This eye-catching book is a celebration of all the things human and animal dads do: building homes, playing, watching out for strangers, baby-sitting, housecleaning and even--in the case of the seahorse and pipefish--giving birth (here the animal world leaves human males in the dust). Collard (Do They Scare You? Creepy Creatures) associates the work of human fathers and animal ones through concurrent streams of text: each spread includes a simple statement of what dads do--e.g., ""[Dads] shelter us from harm""--and a fine-print explanation of the pictured animal dad's actions: a cichlid fish ""shelters"" his babies by letting them swim into his mouth. Likewise, the line ""And help us find our voice"" is accompanied by a meadowlark teaching his son to sing. Jenkins's (Duck's Breath and Mouse Pie: A Collection of Animal Superstitions) handsome cut-paper collages include inspired choices of texture: fibrous papers suggest, alternately, fur, grass, bark, scales and sand. He uses deftly cut shapes and strong, remarkably varied colors: one underwater scene of a swimming salmon dad fairly glows, as if the rice-paper rocks were catching light filtered through water. While one page acknowledges that ""Some dads go away,"" the bulk of the book is a tribute to those guys who ""do things for us that we never even know""--a timely sentiment with Father's Day around the corner. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)