A little boy asks, “Daddy, why do you always read me Mother Goose before bed?” The question prompts a zany tale from Daddy’s boyhood.
Young Daddy finds a live duck in the fridge. Then three in the bathroom. Then more! The unruly critters steal his pajamas, eat all the crackers and order out for pizza. Calling 1-800-DUCK-B-GONE for something to scare the ducks away—once, twice and thrice—Daddy receives delivery of two sheep (who are hairy, not scary), three dogs and, lastly, one purportedly “scary” herd of cows. In each case, the delivered animals merely add to the chaos—bonding with each other via television, card games and a wild party. Overhearing party chitchat, boy Daddy gets an idea. Maybe he doesn’t need to scare the animals off to get them to cooperate. He begins to read “The Old Woman in the Shoe” and immediately captivates his listeners. “Hey, Diddle Diddle” goes down just as well. Young Daddy thus finds a solution for that difficult transition for preschoolers, from full-bore activity to bedtime—one that comes in handy with his own child, years later. Mack’s digitally rendered, cartoonish pictures are characterized by grainy colors, soft-edged brown contour lines and occasional flowery motifs for textiles. Hmm, whatever did happen to all those animals, anyway? A visual joke on the last double-page spread supplies the laugh-out-loud payoff.
The silly scenario and pro–books-and-reading message accentuate the appeal. (Picture book. 3-7)