Zenz utilizes clever wordplay to introduce names for a menagerie of animal dads to the preschool crowd.
Although the text inserts a few silly puns, it mostly reads like an enthusiastically delivered list of terms for the 27 different male creatures that frolic, jump and cuddle with their youngsters. The text playfully cautions, “Brace yourself—my dad might RAM you” as a pair of sheep kick up their heels. Other pages show a bee and ant that “DRONE on” and feature words new to young readers’ ears such as TIERCEL, SILVERBACK and COB. They can even choose which BULL to adore most: a giraffe, walrus, moose or alligator. While the information presented will surprise and spark interest in further animal investigations, the illustrations in colored pencil feel mismatched and rather sweet given the content full of plays on words. As in the companion title, I Love Ewe (2013), the final page features pictures and terms for all of the animal papas found within.
While it’s useful for the wide range of animals covered, the disconnect between the occasionally sophisticated text and the slightly saccharine pictures ultimately compromises its success. (Picture book. 3-6)