Saturday, January 10, 2009

If I Were You

Richard Hamilton; Illustrations by Babette Cole
Bloomsbury Children's Books

The front cover bills this book as "A Daddy-Daughter Story," but the fun certainly is not limited to just that audience. Many groups of people will certainly find the humor in a hairy-legged tutu clad man.

One night at bedtime, Daisy's dad uses the expression "If I were you ..." and it quickly snowballs into a wildly imaginative conversation. Daisy dreams up what she would do as the adult in charge. Her plans include eating sundaes for dinner, visiting the zoo and (at the top of her list) dressing her dad in a pink tutu and parading him around the neighborhood.

On the flip side, Daisy's dad imagines the fun he would have if their roles were reversed. Washing the dishes and making the beds would be replaced with watching television and bouncing on the beds. Sure there's the tutu, but zero responsibilities! Ah, to be a kid again.

The illustrations of what the two envision for each other are pure Babette Cole, who is never less than totally delightful. We especially love the orange house cat, whose sole purpose is to prance about on stubby legs looking chubby.

The clever drawings rolled up with rhyming text make for a rollicking good time. But best of all are the conversations this book will spark with young readers. What would they plan if they were in charge? And how would you behave as the child?

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