Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wait 'til Your Father Gets Home! When Papa Comes Home Tonight by Eileen Spinelli

When Papa comes home tonight, dear child,
I'll let you help me cook.
We'll try that recipe for rice.
It's in the yellow book.

And when we wash the dishes,
You'll teach me that new song--
The one you learned a week ago.
I'll try to sing along.

Daddy's home! There's a special drama, a special warmth, in that moment of reunion with a doting dad and his son, portrayed with dignity and sweetness in Eileen Spinelli's just-in-time-for-Father's Day book, When Papa Comes Home Tonight (Simon & Schuster, 2009). From the moment Papa comes whistling up the road and opens the gate to a hug from his boy, there's a good time to be had--making and eating dinner, washing up and catching up on the day's happenings. Then it's on to a game of knight--played by the boy with his wooden sword--and dragon--acted out by Papa in a giant paper bag mask--and a bit of guy time as boy and son haul out the tools to repair the wheels on his wagon.

As shadows fill the backyard, father and son get ready for bed with a story which puts Papa right into snooze mode:

I'll read you a bedtime story.
Before it ends I'll doze.
You'll tap me on the shoulder.
I'll kiss you on the toes.

But Papa's work is not done even after boy and Teddy Bear are kissed goodnight and the child is fast asleep.

When you wake up tomorrow,
You'll find a brand-new kite.
I'll make it while you're asleep--
When Papa comes home tonight.

A companion piece to her When Mama Comes Home Tonight (Simon & Schuster, 1998) Spinelli's nostalgic and loving story of Papa's evening fun with his boy is brought to life in the gentle watercolor and line illustrations of the noted David McPhail, who finds a way to work one of his signature bears into the pictures, along with an attentive puppy and ever-present cat, all of which together create a warm lamp-lit tribute to fatherhood.



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