Review: How to Cheer Up Dad by Fred Koehler

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.

Review: Hi, Koo! by Jon J. Muth

hi koo

Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons by Jon J. Muth

Join Koo, a panda, on an exploration of the seasons through haiku poems.  The book begins with fall and haikus about fall leaves, wind, and rain.  Winter comes next with poetry about snow and ice.  Spring is bridged into with a glimpse of crocuses and then grass, insects, and birds.  Summer arrives with fireflies, flowers and water.  In 26 poems, this is a lovely celebration of the small things that make each season special.

Muth has created haikus that are beautifully written.  They capture small moments in time and also point to the larger importance of these moments.  They continue Muth’s Buddhist focus in his picture books, offering children a way to see these times of mindfulness as important and worthy of exploration. 

Muth’s watercolor illustrations have a wonderful spirit to them.  The palette changes colors as the seasons change with spring bouncing in green especially after the white cold of winter.  He captures the seasons so well that your attitude changes with each season as well.

A stellar collection of haiku, this book will invite young readers to see nature and seasons in a fresh new way.  Appropriate for ages 5-9.

Reviewed from copy received from Scholastic.