cover image If I'd Known Then What I Know Now: 9

If I'd Known Then What I Know Now: 9

Reeve Lindbergh. Viking Children's Books, $13.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-670-85351-9

Just in time for Father's Day comes this paean to the home repair-challenged, part counting book (the young narrator recounts each year in his life in terms of a series of disastrous domestic projects tackled by his dad), part rollicking read-aloud (``We papered the windows, we papered the door, / We papered the bed right onto the floor''). Lindbergh ( What Is the Sun? reviewed below; Benjamin's Barn ) and Root ( Papa's Bedtime Story ) roll out one comically calamitous scenario after another. This is the house that Dad built: leaky roof, convoluted plumbing, faulty wiring (it lights up the cat) and a chimney that careens off into the stratosphere at an impossible angle. Interrupting the child's recital is the inept handyman's plaintive refrain, ``If I'd known then what I know now.'' Lindbergh's verse text is eminently readable, and Root makes hay with it, producing a collection of wonderfully exaggerated, sophisticated illustrations. Although Dad clearly has more enthusiasm than skill, the family rallies round in the end to reassure him that they still wouldn't want any other father ``if we'd known then what we know now!'' Ages 3-8. (May)