cover image TELL ME ONE THING, DAD


Tom Pow, , illus. by Ian Andrew. . Candlewick, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-2474-3

The magical rapport between fathers and their young daughters takes wonderful form in Pow's (Who Is the World For? ) text, consisting almost entirely of dialogue, and the lighthearted imagination of Andrew's (Jim's Lion ) crisply outlined, muted-tone watercolors. When Molly does not want to go to sleep, she asks Dad, "Tell me one thing—the most important thing" about various members of the animal world. In addition to everything Daddy knows (and invents) about polar bears, crocodiles, dinosaurs ("One laid a single egg that could have fed our street for a week") or even a Grimalken (a winged, striped, upside-down-hanging figment of Molly's stalling-for-time imagination), Daddy also knows one more thing: all grown-up creatures love their babies. Molly, in turn, demonstrates a pretty thorough knowledge of her father ("The back of your neck is ticklish"), and she ends up showing that he loves his baby, too. The artist wryly captures the father-daughter interplay in a series of spot drawings (Andrew is a keen observer of how a child's procrastination is reflected in her parent's posture), then switches to a more expansive style when Dad declaims about various creatures: a polar bear shaking dry its mighty girth occupies an entire page, as do three baby crocodiles imperiously riding on top of their parent's gnarly snout. It's an astute tactic, underscoring how deliciously impressive Molly finds this knowledge, and how much she loves her dad. Father really does know best. Ages 3-5. (May)