In Hey, Daddy!, Mary Batten shines the spotlight on animal fathers and their babies. Although insects and fish can survive without dad from birth, certain critters depend on both mother and father. In fact, some even take on the role of primary caretaker. For example, the father seahorse gives birth to numerous juniors springing from eggs laid in his pouch by the female. Father marmosets and titi monkeys carry their babies most of the time, leaving the mother free to forage for the food she needs to produce milk. Without sentimentality, the illustrator, Higgins Bond, captures fathers and their babies interacting in their natural environment. 2002, Peachtree,
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Gr 1-3-Feathered, aquatic, and primate animals-all are highlighted in this book about the role a father plays in his offspring's life. Unfortunately, the repetitive use of the word "daddy" becomes tiresome and distracting, and several accounts may leave children with questions. After reading about the mallee fowl, for example, they may want to know how long the father tends the nest once the eggs have been laid. Sometimes this information is included, e.g., "The daddy [Darwin's frog] guards the eggs for ten to twenty days.-[then] he snaps them up with his tongue and slips them into his vocal sac, where they stay for about fifty-two days." On many pages, however, readers are given vague facts. Bond's realistic watercolor paintings nicely reflect the text, and do an excellent job of showing a loving relationship between the animal dads and their young against a backdrop that shows their natural habitat. Although this is a lovely book to look at, readers may want to supplement it with Russell Freedman's Animal Fathers (Holiday, 1976; o.p.).-Cathie Bashaw Morton, Somers Library, NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.