The exuberant duo from Higher! Higher! (2009) is back in Patricelli’s latest, this time imagining all the animals dad could be as his daughter rides on his back.
While her younger brother gets pushed on a swing in the background (yelling, “Higher, higher!” of course), the lively girl demands a ride of her dad. Climbing on his back and taking his necktie in her hands like reins, she demands that he go “Faster! Faster!” until suddenly it is no longer her father she is riding. He becomes first a dog, then a rabbit, an ostrich, a horse, a cheetah, a hawk, a dolphin and a sea turtle—all of which sport Dad’s purple polka-dot tie. Each spread gives a glimpse of the next animal Dad will become, as well as a look back at the exhausted animal he was on the previous page. Motion streaks and clouds of dust give readers clues as to just how fast Dad is… until, as a sea turtle, he finally runs out of steam, and the picture changes back to a young girl atop her tired and sprawled-out father. She gently reassures him, “You’re fast, Daddy!” as they head off for (one hopes) further imaginative play. Patricelli’s acrylics combine bright colors with minimalist details to capture the joy of the young girl and the closeness of their father-daughter bond.Another imaginative delight…what will this duo dream up next? (Picture book. 3-7)