Review Blog

Jan 21 2009

If I were you by Richard Hamilton

cover image

Ill. by Babette Cole. Bloomsbury, 2008. ISBN 9780747552499
(Ages: 4-8) Recommended. Hamilton has written an amusing, affectionate tale of a father-daughter relationship that is not to be missed. Daisy is all tucked up in bed and weary Dad says 'If I were you, I'd snuggle down and go to sleep.' This sets Daisy imagining what it would be like to change places with her father. She dresses him in a pink tutu, feeds him porridge and then gives him a ride in her stroller down Main St. She does all the things that she likes such as eating chocolate fromage frais and going to the zoo. In turn, Dad decides that he can watch TV and play while Daisy does the household chores. What does Daisy think of this exchange?

The rhyming couplets are very enjoyable and will have young children predicting what will come next. Hamilton has Daisy and her father using language that they would have heard each other use like Daisy telling her father that she will take him to the zoo if he 'were very, very good'. This appealing style keeps the story rolling along.

Babette Cole's illustrations are a delight. Children will find the pictures of a stubbled-faced Dad, with his hairy chest and skinny legs sticking out of a pink tutu, really amusing. Daisy is portrayed as a happy-go-lucky little girl who enjoys having fun. The small, often humourous details in the pictures such as the plump cat and untidy toys add a lovely dimension to the story and attentive children will gain endless pleasure looking at them.

This book with its zany illustrations and great rhythm would be great fun to read aloud and a follow up activity could be to have the children decide what they would do if they changed places with their father or mother and how their parent might behave as a child.
Pat Pledger

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