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Daddy Calls Me Man

by Angela Johnson
Illustrated by Rhonda Mitchell

Published by Orchard, 1997
32 pages
ISBN: 0-531-30042-0

Ages 6 - 9

Four lyrical, homey vignettes underscore the loving relationships a young African-American boy has with the people in his family: father, mother, older sister and baby sister. With just a few words per page, Angela Johnson touches on all the most important things in the family life of a young child. In "Shoes," the child playfully describes his sneakers and looks forward to the day when they're as big as his daddy's shoes. "Spin" highlights the energetic twirling, swinging games he plays with his older sister, inside and outside. Looking at the moon through his bedroom window at night, he thinks about the things his mother has told him about "Noah's Moon." Lastly, the arrival of a new baby sister means he has to share his room and his toys with her and, when he does, "... then Mama calls me sweetheart / and Daddy calls me man." Rhonda Mitchell's realistic paintings of everyday life from a child's perspective are contrasted with the abstract paintings Daddy is shown painting at his easel in the background throughout the book. Astute viewers will enjoy seeing how Daddy's home life inspires his art, as well as how abstract art contrasts with realism, and newly independent readers will enjoy finding a sophisticated book they can read on their own. CCBC categories: Picture Books  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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