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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Daddy, Me, and the Magic Hour, written by Laura Krauss Melmed and illustrated by Sarita Rich. Sky Pony Press, Thomas Allen & Son. 2018. $23.99 ages 4 and up

"Here come the dogs
stepping out with their people
for a Magic Hour parade.

They don't bark at me,
and I am not afraid.

"Good job!" says Daddy,
when I pat a friendly one
who wags his tail a little
and licks my face."

What a truly engaging tale of a daily ritual between father and son!

Supper time is not always easy. It comes at the end of long days for little children and for their parents, and is often frenzied. Energy abounds, noise is at its peak, demands are constant, and still a meal must be prepared. Dad begins cooking while Mom feeds the baby; their young son catapults broccoli and then tries to feed it to the poor cat. Finally, it is time to sit and settle.

Supper consumed, father and son are off on their 'after-supper walk'. It is a time of visiting neighbors, splashing in puddles, enjoying the many dog walkers, and drawing with sticks. A red bucket provides a receptacle for the many treasures offered and collected. As the two watch twilight slowly descend around them, they find joy in each other's company. It is easy to tell they have been this way before as they share adventure in the park, and making new friends.

"The sky is purpling now.
Daddy shows me how things that are white by day,
like his shirt and my shoes,
and that patch of daisies,
glow all silvery as daytime fades away."

A shoulder ride for the final few steps, and they are home.

Time for a quick and quiet recount of the night's adventure with Mommy before it's lights out and a good night's rest.

Sarita Rich ably matches the story's tone in panelled snapshots that provide a detailed look at the many moments shared. There is much to see as they make their way through the neighborhood encountering both familiar and the new experiences. It is a pleasure to be along for the journey.

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