THE DADDY MOUNTAIN

Jules Feiffer, Author . Hyperion/di Capua $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7868-0912-7

Parents who enjoy interactive play should select this book, in which a child scales a stoical "Daddy Mountain." Each page focuses on the red-haired knee-high girl who tells the story. The father, drawn in a nubbly, granite-like charcoal that contrasts with the watercolor-and-ink sketches of his small daughter, is too tall to fit on a page; readers see only his legs and torso as the child makes her steep ascent. The girl fortifies herself before beginning ("Fruit juice gives me energy"), then hauls herself up a pants-leg ("It's harder than you think"). The father's knees obligingly bend to give the mountaineer a rest until she can grip his belt, but otherwise he offers no assistance. Giving instructions to the audience as she goes, the girl reaches his button-down shirt: "If you grab hold of his skin, he'll get mad." Using a shoulder and ear, she drags herself to the summit and calls her mother to "Come quick!" At the terrific conclusion, a vertical gatefold opens up to picture the gray Daddy Mountain transformed into a grinning full-color person (with a girl on his head). After several darker-themed but equally satisfying books like The House Across the Street and I'm Not Bobby! , Feiffer breaks for some lighthearted, affectionate fare. He writes and draws from the girl's point of view, emphasizing the relative sizes of child and parent. He makes a plaything of the adult, who silently endures all manner of humiliation during this game. Youngsters will want to try this sport at home. Ages 2-up. (May)

Reviewed on: 04/05/2004
Release date: 06/01/2004
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