written and illustrated by Troy Cummings
Random House, 2013
The dad in this story is really good at playing horsey... so good that when he is practicing jumps in the backyard, he is captured by horse rustlers!
The kids follow his footprints to a rodeo, where their dad catches sight of them and they hop onto his back. They ride the horse-dad right out of the rodeo and into a circus tent with the rustlers hot on their heels. They flee the circus, through a polo field, around the track at the Kentucky Derby and right into the wilds of Canada.
There, the children show their true identities as Canadian Mounties and capture the rustlers. They are celebrated in a huge parade featuring characters from all of the other scenes they have passed through on their chase.
The illustrations have a cartoony-clownish look which is appropriate to the over-the-top plot and non-stop action of the story. The first grade class I shared this with enjoyed the book, although it was a little long to sustain their attention. It may appeal more to the slightly older elementary crowd who will recognize the style of humor and design inspiration from cartoons such as Phineas and Ferb.
Perhaps the best part of the story is the clever ending, in which the children and their father return home to their mother who is waiting with open arms...
"Who wants an airplane ride?" she asked. The mom was pretty good at airplane rides. Seriously, she was the best.And on the very edge of the back end page is depicted the end of the mother's legs and feet, against a backdrop of sky.
Troy Cummings has been chomping at the bit to write this story ever since his two kids jumped on his back and started making horsey sounds. His illustrations have been featured in newspapers, magazines, card games, Humane Society newsletters, and an opera. Giddy-Up Daddy! is Troy's second picture book. You can see more of his work at trox5.com.
Renée Vaillancourt McGrath has worked at Montana Public Radio as a program host since 2002. Her background is in librarianship and she currently works as a freelance editor, blogger, and website developer. Check out more of her book reviews at reneesreads.com.