how to cheer up dad

How to Cheer Up Dad by Fred Koehler

Little Jumbo’s dad is having a very bad day, but Little Jumbo can’t figure out why.  When Little Jumbo spits his raisins at the ceiling, his dad should have remembered not to put them in his oatmeal since Little Jumbo doesn’t like them.  His dad also should have remembered that Little Jumbo doesn’t like his brown overalls, but he didn’t so Little Jumbo ran out of the house naked.  Little Jumbo had to figure out how to cheer up dad, especially after getting a time out when it seemed like Dad needed one himself.  So Little Jumbo sets out to make the perfect cheering-up afternoon with Dad, and it works.  Maybe.

Koehler tells one story with his words and another in the pictures.  This makes for great fun especially with his dead-on sense of timing for humor.  The story is told in Little Jumbo’s voice, but the images show the point of view of the father quite clearly and the mishaps that Little Jumbo has all morning long.  The blissful afternoon together makes this book a little deeper and less madcap, much to the book’s credit.  But the final twist at the end brings the laughter right back again.

Koehler’s art will appeal to fans of Mo Willems with its clear lines, silly humor and a strong relationship between the two characters.  Little Jumbo and his father are two charming characters who related together with a mix of frustration and love. 

Filled with laughs, this is sure to cheer up bedtime at any house but particularly if shared by a dad.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Dial.