cover image Druthers


Matt Phelan. Candlewick, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-5955-4

It’s raining, it’s pouring, and Penelope finds it all really boring. Does Penelope’s father march her over to the TV and put on Frozen? No siree. He teaches her the intriguing titular concept (“Druthers are what you would rather do if you could do anything at all”) and embarks with her on several pretend-play scenarios. When Penelope says she’d rather visit the zoo, Dad gamely imitates a gorilla. But Penelope has something more elaborate in mind—her vision of sailing a pirate ship to the “island of dinosaurs” morphs into a trip to the moon for a dance party. Phelan (Bluffton) alternates between fantasy scenes of the two wrangling cattle and outrunning dinosaurs and images of a living room in increasing disarray (many families will identify with the closing scene, in which just about every toy Penelope owns has been hauled out to support the cause). As Penelope’s father proves himself more than worthy of a “Best Dad Ever” mug, the energetic and warmly funny watercolors convey a father-daughter relationship that clearly means a lot to both parties. Ages 2–5. Agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Sept.)