Shoulders and Weidner have combined their talents superbly in this new
picture book for the preschool set. "Say Daddy!" appeals to the eye, ear and
heart as we meet a cuddly bear family with a brand-new baby cub. In fact,
the first page introduces us to Mommy and Baby while she is still sitting in
her hospital bed reading him his first book and telling him how wonderful
As we progress through the story, Shoulders introduces Daddy, Brother,
Aunt Grace, Uncle Roy and Grandma. Each bear reads the baby a story about
the wonderful things about family and life, sharing ideas about adventures
and relationships that are easily recognized by even young readers or
listeners. Colorful two-page spreads bring the stories to life, text swirls
and floats, and cuddling and hugging make the reader feel as safe and secure
as the baby cub. Isn't that what we all want a baby to experience: both
growing in experience and the safety of our arms?
As each special person in the baby bear's life shares a story with him,
they also coach him to say their name, telling him to say "Mommy" or say
"Daddy." Each one wants to hear his or her name as the first word the baby
bear will speak.
In each consecutive situation we see the baby growing a littler older and
branching out to explore more of his world. Young children will probably
also point out the lavender rag bunny that accompanies the baby everywhere
he goes, sharing in the adventures and learning that are taking place.
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Of course, the muted colors, details and facial expressions in the
illustrations can capture the eye and add all the love and closeness
that families share with each other.
Look closely at the wrapped presents of the baby's first birthday
party! They imitate the illustrations of the stories told to him
over the year. The first present the baby unwraps is one from
Grandma. Can you guess what it is? Correct, it's a book. And at that
time, Baby utters his first word. Will it be "Daddy"? Will it be
"Mommy"? Will it be "Brother," "Aunt Grace," "Uncle Roy" or
"Grandma"? If you were watching and listening carefully, you
probably guessed the special word the baby says first: "book!"
As both a mother and a librarian (who loves a sappy story as much
as an adventurous one), I'm afraid I could not read this story aloud
without a tear coming into my eye! What a tribute to this team of
author and illustrator!
Come share this special book and many others with your own small
one. You will find them at the Lincoln Public Library Youth Service
Department, 725 Pekin St.
[Text from file received from
Louella Moreland, youth services librarian,
Lincoln Public Library District]