San Francisco looking like it stepped out of a paint-by-numbers set and Adam's black family suggesting a magazine ad for all things bright and beautiful -- like the African cloth Daddy brings from the sea (""Mother clapped her hands"" and makes everyone an African outfit to wear to the street fair) -- or the dutifully mentioned and indiscriminately smiled upon Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown, cable cars, and Fisherman's Wharf. So much for plot; now for openers -- ""Adam lived in a very tall house on a very high hill in the city of San Francisco. He lives on the highest floor of the very tall house. Adam lives on the highest floor with his mamma, his daddy, his twin sisters, Chris and Sarah, and his best friend, Cat."" That clumsy freight-train accumulation does, happily, end, but the primer timbre lingers and no self-respecting self-reader or listener will last.