cover image Mighty Dads

Mighty Dads

Joan Holub, illus. by James Dean. Scholastic Press, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-545-60968-5

“Like father, like son” holds true even when Dad and Junior are heavy-duty construction equipment. “Dump Truck Sturdy/ teaches Dumpy to get dirty/ They go fill, drive, dump,” writes Holub (Little Red Writing), as Pete the Cat creator Dean shows a hulking blue and red truck create an impressive mountain while his offspring makes an adorable molehill. Like the best 21st-century human dads, the vehicles don’t just show their kids the ropes—they also offer plenty of TLC (“Cement Mixer Busy/ gives a hug if Mixie’s dizzy”) and affirmation (“Forklift Wise/ cheers whenever Forky tries”). Dean’s decision to anthropomorphize the construction equipment solely through a highly stylized, often single, forward-facing eye takes some getting used to—imagine a cross between the Eye of Providence on the dollar bill and a Egyptian hieroglyph. But his construction sign–inspired palette and ability to convey calm, steady affection between parent and progeny quickly outweighs this visual idiosyncrasy, making this a book worthy of any young armchair foreman. Ages 3–5. Author’s agent: Liza Pulitzer Voges, Eden Street Literary. (May)