A playful exploration of familial ties.An anthropomorphic alligator family composed of a mother, a father, and a son named Mike live in a comically stereotypical suburban setting. Most of the text is made up of dialogue between Mike and his dad as they rib each other about what each could do without the other in his life. “I would never have to clean my room…if I didn’t have you,” Mike says, and “I suppose I could take sky-diving lessons…if I didn’t have you. But I’d rather have you,” his father muses. Each repeatedly concludes he’d rather have the other than any solo scenario, and there’s plenty of joking along the way to these happy affirmations. Humor prevents the text from veering into saccharine sentimentality, and it’s amplified by Robertson’s colorful digital illustrations. “I could put my bare, stinky feet on the dining room table during dinner…if I didn’t have you,” Mike says, and an accompanying illustration adopts Mike’s imagined point of view to show his feet resting on a platter filled with pizza, a burger, a doughnut, cake, and other goodies. The facing page shows a puzzled Dad asking, “Why would you want to do that?”—to which Mike replies, “Oh yeah, never mind.” At the book’s end, Mom joins the banter with a twist all her own.
Here’s a book many families will want to have. (Picture book. 3-6)