cover image Daddy, Daddy, Be There

Daddy, Daddy, Be There

Candy Dawson Boyd. Philomel Books, $16.99 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22745-5

Boyd's image-laden narrative makes a passionate appeal to ""Daddy"" to ""be there"" to share the small and significant incidents in a child's life and-more incisively-to right the wrongs, some of which have been created by Daddy himself. The words of the book's title introduce-and end-just about every page of this belabored text, in which the narrator's entreaties range from hopeful (""Hug Mama and smile at her/ On Tuesdays and in the grocery store"") to plaintive (""Daddy, Daddy,/ Be there,/ Not only on weekends or across telephone lines,/ Not only during commercials or between innings"") to almost pathetic begging (""I saw you push Mama/ And take another drink/ And turn the television up,/ Then leave, slam the door shut./ I feel the holler, the push, the door slammed./ Please stop. Stop, please. Please. Stop./ Make home safe""). Though cloying, Boyd's poetic plea strikes deep notes that will ring true for many children and parents, and may be useful as a starting point for needed dialogue. Featuring kids and adults of various ethnicities, Cooper's (Be Good to Eddie Lee) intentionally hazy, brown-toned illustrations reinforce the text's unfettered emotional content. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)