Faster! Faster!

In this sequel to Higher! Higher! (2009), the girl and her father are once again playing in a park. With the girl riding on his back, ‘Daddy’ is pushed to go ‘faster’, transforming into a dog, a rabbit, an ostrich, a horse, a cheetah, an eagle, a dolphin, and finally a turtle before changing back into a very tired Daddy.

In Faster! Faster! Patricelli once again displays her skill as a visual storyteller, achieving the same high standard that she set withHigher! Higher! She is particularly adept at conveying a sense of movement through her simple but vibrant illustrations, allowing the reader to be swept up alongside the protagonist in the increasingly exhilarating ride. Throughout the book, the illustrations privilege the perspective of the child protagonist; through her eyes, we witness Daddy’s transformations into progressively faster animals. There is also a clear sense of continuity from one opening to the next, as Daddy is always identifiable by his purple necktie. The unobtrusive hand-lettered text is kept to a minimum (‘Faster! Faster!’ ‘Wheeeeeeee!’), complementing the illustrations and in some cases becoming part of them.

While the rich visual narrative has a clear appeal for nonreaders, the cathartic final series of images achieves a poignancy that will speak to parents and children, as Daddy, now a turtle, runs out of steam, transforms back into Daddy, and collapses in a heap. In a moment of pure joy, father and daughter, both exhausted, embrace and return home after a mutually satisfying play session.