Whose Big Day Is It? How to Surprise a Dad by Jean Reagan
TO SURPRISE A DAD, YOU HAVE TO BE TRICKY.
FIRST OF ALL, DON'T LET HIM SEE THIS BOOK!
Kids love a conspiracy, and whether it's Dad's birthday, or Father's Day, or just any old day they're feeling clandestine, half the fun is putting it over on the big guy.
Job One is concealing this how-to manual itself. Out come the craft and drawing materials to make a fake cover. One with happy polka-dotted hippos ought to do it. Cleverly, they hide the book in plain sight on the bookshelf.
TUCK IT BETWEEN BORING BOOKS NO ONE EVER READS!
Dad's a pretty laid-back guy who appears not to have a clue what they're up to, but the kids slyly start with small surprises. They lay out his toothbrush with a neat ribbon of toothpaste already on it, a plan which will have the old guy scratching his head and worrying when he might have done that. Then the kids craftily construct a snowman who is a dead ringer for dear old Dad, and wait to see if he notices the SnowDaddy on the lawn.
But all this is just a training exercise for the Big Surprise--Dad's birthday, Fathers' Day, any special day they choose. There's a special Daddy-Faced Cake, with cookie ears and those wavy candle for hair (if Dad has any). Banners are good and presents are better, especially hand-made coupons for things to do for Dad. But it's got to be a surprise, so the kids have to stage it all, lay in a supply of stinky cheeses, invite the guests, swear them to secrecy, and figure out just where each one will hide. S-h-h-h-h-h!
In their latest family how-to-manual, How to Surprise a Dad (Alfred A. Knopf Books, 2015), author Jean Reagan and illustrator and Lee Wildish get into the act with their conspiratorial kids, who carry out all their secret plans while Dad relaxes and reads in his favorite easy chair, (perhaps) oblivious to everything going on around him. Wildish's recognizable artwork--his sneaky kids and the sometimes observant dad who never lets on that he's in on the covert action--adds a lot of visual fun to Reagan's deadpan instruction manual style.
Reagan's and Wildish's other books in their top-selling How To series are How to Babysit a Grandpa and How to Babysit a Grandma.