Alan Lawrence Sitomer, illus. by Abby Carter. Disney-Hyperion, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4231-3315-5 A girl with flyaway curls describes her mother and father's different parenting styles. Breakfast with Mommy is civilized, but with Daddy, they make a fort from waffles. Carter's energetic drawings capture the fun-spirited bedlam that ensues when Daddy's in charge. Though Sitomer includes some gender stereotypes ("When Mommy gets her nails done, I sometimes get mine painted, too") and sets up a bit of a "fun dad, boring mom" dichotomy, it's clear that while mom and dad are different, they are equally beloved. Ages 3 7.—PW
Readers are in for a predictable, stereotypical comparison of how this particular mother and father differ in how they interact with their winsome daughter. The text follows a strict pattern, stating what Mommy typically does and following with how "daddies do it different," even though there is only one daddy/mommy pair depicted. Mommy is usually pleasant and proper and gets things done: "When Mommy feeds me breakfast . I sit nicely at the table, munch a piece of toast ." Daddy indulges in somewhat foolish behavior: "We make a fort with waffles, get syrup on the dog, and eat cereal straight out of the box!" (Mommies sharing this with their children will wonder who gets to wash the dog.) Carter ably paints the contrasting scenes in what appears to be watercolor. Most of these dichotomies make logical sense. Mommy teaches her daughter to make sauces while Daddy gives a lesson on how to juggle eggs and so on. But some are less successful: "When Mommy gets her nails done, I sometimes get mine painted, too. When Daddy watches Sunday sports, I sometimes see him cry." But on the last spreads mom and dad each tuck their daughter in, give her a kiss and tell her how much she is loved in "the exact same way." Unfortunately, this does not salvage the tale. Better choices abound, such as Marjorie Blain Parker and R.W. Alley's When Dads Don't Grow Up (2012) and Stephen Cook's Day Out with Daddy (2006). (Picture book. 3-6)—Kirkus
A young girl shares the daily activities of her family, contrasting the way mommies handle various chores to the way "daddies do it." When Mommy dresses her, the girl says, "My blouse is clean, my shoes have style, and my socks always match my shirt." With Daddy, "Stripes collide with plaids, my barrettes are crazy crooked, and sometimes my head pops through the shirtsleeve!" At bath time, Daddy, the dog, and the whole bathroom get just as wet as the girl, and Daddy encourages rambunctious play and tickling to the point of "crazy-hyper-nuts!" Finally, at bedtime, Mommy gently tucks the girl in, and Daddy does it "the exact same way." Children may enjoy reading about this dad's antics; others may find his behavior annoying. However, both the narrator and her mom relish the chaos. Lightly colored cartoon watercolors are a good match to the text. Two books with a similar feel are Jamie Lee Curtis' My Mommy Hung the Moon (2010) and Kate Banks' That's Papa's Way (2009). - Randall Enos—Booklist
K-Gr 2 In Sitomer's exploration of the differences between the ways in which mothers and fathers relate to their children and care for their needs, mothers are conscientious caregivers who dress their offspring in perfectly matching outfits, cook nutritious food, shop with a careful eye on family finances, and provide calming bedtime rituals. Fathers, on the other hand, build forts with breakfast waffles, put bananas in their ears in the supermarket, can't find the car keys, and engage in bedtime shenanigans guaranteed to make kids "crazy-hyper-nuts." Carter's large watercolor cartoon paintings reinforce the humorous text and vividly illustrate the differences between the two parents. Mom's breakfast table is neatly set with important food groups in evidence; Dad's has cereal spilling onto the floor, flowing milk and syrup, open drawers, and a cup perched precariously on the table edge. Mom provides bath-tub toys and careful teeth brushing; Dad covers the bathroom floor and himself in bubbles and water. While Sitomer is surely writing tongue-in-cheek, his stereotypical picture of mothers who are incapable of a bit of playful fun and fathers who are merely irresponsible clowns does a disservice to both parents. Stay with Laura Numeroff's What Mommies Do Best/What Daddies Do Best (S & S, 1998), which provides a more balanced view of parents and their little ones. Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT—SLJ
Alan Lawrence Sitomer is a nationally renowned speaker and was California's Teacher of the Year in 2007. He is also the author of multiple works for young readers, including Nerd Girls
, the Hoopster trilogy, The Secret Story of Sonia Rodriguez
, and The Alan Sitomer BookJam
. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter.
Abby Carter has illustrated many books for children, including My Hippie Grandmother
by Reeve Lindbergh, The Best Seat in Second Grade
by Katharine Kenah, and the Andy Shane chapter book series by Jennifer Richard Jacobson. Abby lives with her husband and two children in Connecticut.