How to Surprise a Dad

illus. by Lee Wildish. 32p. Knopf. Mar. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780553498363.
K-Gr 3—When a brother and sister want to become super dad surprisers, they must first keep their father in the dark. They disguise this useful how-to guide and hide it among books their dad will not read. He must not see the bright digital artwork showing surprises they can make (pink hearts, a snow-dad, and amazing inventions) and do (reorganizing his stuff, going grocery shopping, and making him laugh) or the especially fine woodland spread with the kids showing him wonders he might not notice (a hidden squirrel, a busy anthill, and high flying geese). Having mastered any day surprises, they advance to special day surprises. They decorate a cake to look like their dad (with chocolate chip cookie ears and crooked candles in the chocolate icing hair) and make him presents (a treasure map, a paper airplane, and coupons for things they can do together). They enlist their mom's help getting everything together and, when necessary, distract their dad with a crazy dance. Then the three of them surprise dad with a birthday party. Young readers wanting their dads to read this book should have him sign a pledge not to remember the surprises. This intimate, humorous book will have children thinking of ways they can pleasantly surprise their own dads.—Mary Jean Smith, formerly at Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN
Two siblings school readers on the art of being a "super dad surpriser"--both the "any day" and "Special Day" kind. Reagan's know-it-all-child narration never breaks character, while Wildish's winking art depicts the actual dynamic of the well-meaning kids and their anything-but-clueless, good-sport dad. The How to Babysit a Grandpa creators' third how-to has Father's Day read-aloud written all over it.

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