Sunday, May 31, 2009

Who's on First? Say Daddy by Michael Shoulders

On the day I was born, Mother welcomed me into the world with tears of joy and read me my first book.

She said, "This is a book about life--and how wonderful love is."

When Mother closed the last page, she held me close and whispered, "Say Mommy, say Mommy!" She hoped "Mommy" would be my first word.

Baby Bear is a much-loved child, with an extended family just waiting to hold him, read him a story, and teach him his first word. Daddy Bear has his own first storybook ready, one about promises and how daddies make them come true. "Say Daddy, say Daddy," he smiles, hoping that "Daddy" would be my first word.

Brother Bear, Aunt Grace Bear, Uncle Roy Bear, and Grandma Bear all bring their own chosen books to read to Baby, each with its own wonderful message, and each followed by a whispered suggestion: "Say Brother," "Say Grace," "Say Uncle." Even wise Grandma Bear has the same agenda:

When Grandma rocked me for the first time..., she said, "This is a book about families--and how they celebrate our joys and hug our tears away. .... A family's love is forever.

Say Nana! say Nana!"

But when his first birthday rolls around and Baby Bear opens his first gift, he instinctively knows how to satisfy his kin without slighting anyone.

"BOOK!" I said.

"What's that I hear?" Daddy asked.

"BOOK!! I said again.

Everybody cheered. Everybody danced.

"Now," said Daddy, "say DADDY!"

Daddy just won't give up!

Author Michael Shoulders' Say Daddy! (Picture Books) (Sleeping Bear Press, 2008) is a book for Father's Day which sweetly includes the whole family, with their affection and aspirations for the new child among them. Artist Teri Weidner's soft, charming illustrations, from the pregnant couple walking nervously to the hospital to the loving storytime scenes with Daddy, Brother, Auntie, Uncle, and Grandma as the baby grows are the essence of family love. A strong story for Father's Day or for any day in the year.

Michael Shoulders is also the author of V Is For Volunteer: A Tennessee Alphabet Edition 1. (Discover America State By State. Alphabet Series) and D Is for Drum: A Native American Alphabet (Sleeping Bear Alphabets).

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