cover image Hey Dad, Get a Life!

Hey Dad, Get a Life!

Todd Strasser, Patent. Holiday House, $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-1278-5

Engaging characters and credible dialogue securely anchor an episodic plot in this affecting story. Twelve-year-old Kelly and eight-year-old Sasha miss their recently deceased father, but he's been such an involved, hands-on dad that his spirit comes back to help out his family. Strasser (How I Changed My Life) doesn't keep readers guessing, but from the start makes it clear who's manipulating the ball when Kelly becomes a sudden star on the soccer field, who's making Sasha's messy bedroom picture-perfect every morning and who's responsible for the flat tires and dead battery that sabotage their mother's initial attempts at dating. Deftly cutting its pathos with humor, Strasser brings his tale to a bittersweet close as Dad gently teaches his beloved family a lesson in self-sufficiency. The literary equivalent of a good, double-hankie movie. Ages 8-12. (Dec.)