From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2—In this heartwarming picture book, a grandmother shares stories with her grandson about his dad, who listens and watches with a smile. Once she opens the photo album, readers are engaged in a tender trip down memory lane. Grandma points out the similarities in appearance and behavior between father and son. Both are "puny and red-faced" when they are born. They begin school with trepidation, but with practice learning becomes easier. Some days, Dad could be "sweet," "wild," bossy, or raise a "ruckus," just like his son. Walker's use of layers of acrylic paints creates soft, gentle illustrations. Small details, such as black corners on the photos, provide authenticity to the time span. Characters' facial expressions and body language successfully capture emotions, actions, and reactions. Children will laugh at the spreads of Dad as a baby joyously singing in a bubble bath; pretending to be a race car, a gorilla, a cowboy, or a masked bandit; moping through a time-out; and coping with the disappointment of losing a baseball game. The humorous text is in perfect sync with the simple illustrations. This unique book is an excellent choice, particularly for Father's Day.—Anne Beier, Hendrick Hudson Free Library, Montrose, NY
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It may be targeted at a very specific audience, but it’s a sizable one: grandmothers and their grandsons. The book opens with a barely graying grandmother, her red-haired son, and his young son looking at a scrapbook: “Your daddy was born puny and red-faced. Just like you.” If that sounds like an insult, be assured that the illustrations for the book are loving tributes to boyhood, even in its messiest, mud-jumping state (“Sometimes I mistook him for Stinky Swamp Man”). Bennett’s grandma narrator hits the highlights of her own son’s young life—the developing mind, the changing moods, the nighttime fears—and often ends with the refrain, “Just like you.” The repetition may seem to deprive the child of some individuality, but it also shows him that his behavior and feelings are perfectly normal (though the image of the boy in a timeout is a bit of a jolt amid the cheerful mischief). With any luck, the book’s appealing pictures of the past will prompt loving memories from children’s own grandparents. Preschool-Grade 1. --Abby Nolan