cover image If I Were Your Father

If I Were Your Father

Margaret Park Bridges. HarperCollins, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-688-15192-8

In these affectionate companion books, a girl imagines switching places with her mother, and a boy with his father. The children describe whimsical activities like building a tree house with an elevator and hiding so much buried treasure in their pockets that their pants fall down. But most of the children's ideas hint slyly at what their parents don't let them do: ""If I were your mother, I'd let you jump from the sofa to the armchair""; ""If I were your father, I wouldn't yell if you stood in front of the TV while I was watching a game."" The parent and child banter playfully, building on the scenarios in alternating red and blue text to indicate which line of dialogue belongs to which speaker. Bridges reuses the parent-child call-and-response format of her Will You Take Care of Me?, but with greater originality and range. The lightness and warmth of Denton's (A Child's Treasure of Nursery Rhymes) watercolors complement the softness of the text. Her impish, wide-faced characters may remind readers of more staid versions of Maurice Sendak's (a few of the girl's poses and costumes look borrowed). While the mother and daughter are snugglier than their male counterparts (Dad refers to his boy as ""buddy"" throughout), the girl is the livelier of the two kids; her dancing, swinging and jumping convey terrific energy. Both books revel in the coziness of a loving relationship. Ages 3-up. (May)