June 2004

Reaching new peaks with Daddy

By Jules Feiffer
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Famed children's book illustrator Jules Feiffer, known for such favorites as I Lost My Bear and Bark, George, scales new heights with The Daddy Mountain, a tale of a small girl and her tall father. "Watch me," she begins, looking up at a pair of long legs in trousers and loafers. "I'm getting ready to climb the Daddy Mountain." Of course, as any seasoned mountaineer knows, keeping your strength up on expeditions is extremely important. Fortified by juice, our young heroine bravely tackles the vertical challenge before her.

Now, as any climber is aware, there are certain rules and procedures to follow to help prevent catastrophes. For example, when climbing Daddy Mountains, it is essential that the "mountain" wear a shirt. ("Because if you grab hold of his skin, he'll get mad.") And, naturally, young climbers have to be extra careful the higher they go. But our young heroine seems to be an expert in scaling this particular peak, and she skillfully swings one foot, then the other, onto the Daddy's shoulders. Almost there! Courageously, grabbing now an ear, and then some hair, she pulls herself to the top and shouts to her mother to come quick.

Up to this point, the Daddy Mountain has remained a rather shadowy figure. But now, the page folds out to twice the height of the book, revealing a delighted dad and a triumphant daughter, perched on her daddy's head. "No problem, she's fine," the Daddy Mountain assures the flabbergasted, white-faced mom. Once again, Feiffer accomplishes a lot with a few expressive, energetic strokes. Full of action and humor, this is the perfect gift for Father's Day. But buyer, beware! If you do give this delightful book to a father of your acquaintance, make sure he's ready to get lots of practice being a "Daddy Mountain!"


Deborah Hopkinson is the author of Girl Wonder and Shutting out the Sky, both recently named honor books for the Jane Addams Children's Book Award.

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The Daddy Mountain

The Daddy Mountain

By Jules Feiffer
Michael Di Capua/Hyperion
ISBN 9780786809127

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