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PRETEND by Jennifer  Plecas


by Jennifer Plecas & illustrated by Jennifer Plecas

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: May 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-399-23430-9
Publisher: Philomel

A sweet, imaginative father-son adventure.

Dad is sitting on the sofa, reading a magazine, shoes off, feet up, cookies and milk on the side table. Jimmy says, “Pretend” that the couch is a boat on the ocean, and they are surrounded by sharks, suddenly tired and starving. The sofa begins to float, and sharks fill the water, but Jimmy uses his fishing lines (the dog’s leash) to capture dinner (the escaped cookies). Jimmy and Dad get out their binoculars (cue image of kid and dad using their hands to make circles over their eyes in classic gesture) and find an island. They have to climb to the hilltop to be safe (the stairs morph into a steep, green hill) and make a fort from stumps and large fronds (chairs and blankets). All this is rendered in friendly ink lines and soft watercolor. The button-eyed father and son share the same half-cookie smile and fuzzy hair. At the end, Jimmy says to pretend they are looking at the stars and building a campfire so they can say, “This is the best time ever”—and Dad notes that they don’t have to pretend that part. It ends with a tiny coda, the best “for pretend and for real.”

Darling and genuine. (Picture book. 3-7)