Knock Knock : My Dad's Dream for Me
by Beaty, Daniel; Collier, Bryan (ILT)

Follows the experiences of a young child who taps his inner strength in spite of having an absent father.

Daniel Beaty is an award-winning writer, performer, educator, and empowerment expert. His works have been shared throughout the United States, Europe, and Africa in the area's of children's and adult literature, music, theater, film, and television. He has performed at The White House and has graced the stage of The Kennedy Center, as well as HBO and BET. His website is

Bryan Collier has illustrated more than twenty-five picture books, including the award-winning Dave the Potter and Fifty Cents and a Dream, and has received numerous awards, including three Caldecott Honors and four Coretta Scott King Awards. He lives with his wife and children in Marlboro, New York. His website is

Every morning a boy and his father play a game: "KNOCK KNOCK," says papa, and the boy pretends to be asleep, before jumping into his father's arms. Then one morning papa doesn't come anymore. Collier's gorgeous watercolor and collages begin with rich hues and joyful light on the beginning pages and turn somber and dark as the boy realizes his father is gone for good. Buildings, fabric patterns and wood grains, photographs, and torn paper are delightfully complex, framing the emotional painterly portrayals of a sad and disappointed boy. Children can follow the tromping paisley elephants and paper airplanes as well as papa's signature hat as the boy grows up and finds happiness. In a rare topic for younger children, Beaty explores the theme of permanent separation from a parent (it could be prison, death, or abandonment). The desire for guidance encountering life's experiences is told from a small child's point of view with candor, as well as hope, as he ends quoting papa's advice to "KNOCK KNOCK down the doors that I could not." Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

A heartfelt effort to transform Beaty's celebrated monologue into a picture book undermines the source material's power, despite the contributions of Collier's stunning collage-and-watercolor artwork. A father and son play "KNOCK KNOCK" every morning, Papa knocking on the door to awaken him and the boy jumping into his arms. Both picture book and monologue open with this recollection and then reflect on the boy's profound loss when his beloved father is suddenly gone; but while the latter text explains that this is due to the father's incarceration, in picture-book form, his absence is unexplained until an author's note in the backmatter. Not only is this potentially confusing and alarming, it also robs the text of one of its most powerful elements: when the boy visits his father in prison and must "KNOCK KNOCK" on the glass between them. In the monologue, Beaty says that he had to learn to father himself and give himself the words his father didn't give to him. In this adaptation, the boy's mysteriously absent father writes a loving letter filled with fatherly advice, but it omits the monologue's lines about fighting poverty and racism and not allowing a father's choices to define the child. Absent the critical back story, this picture book feels incomplete. A valiant effort that falls short of its source's fearless honesty and passion. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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