With Father’s Day coming up next weekend, I thought I’d share a few books about dads.
This book about a boy and his dad flips the relationship on its head. It’s narrated by the boy, with the things that he teaches his dad about life: how to talk to strangers, how to slow down, how to play—mostly lessons that you expect the dad to be teaching. It’s a small book with simple, expressive illustrations, and would make a nice gift for dad.
Dream is about two parents dreaming of what their child will become: of their child growing and learning new things, including the times when the child goes away. The dream encompasses both happy and sad occasions—but it’s about watching the child become who it’s meant to be. It’s a lovely little book about new life entering the world.
Here’s a book that’ll be great for dads to read to their new babies. It’s a welcome guide, written sort of like a brochure or an informational pamphlet, complete with little iconographic illustrations. It outlines the amenities of this world to new arrivals and also has some warnings about things they may encounter. As you’d expect from Mo Willems, it’s funny and great to read aloud, but also tugs at your heartstrings just a little.
Aput the fox is enjoying the last days of summer in the Arctic, but when the geese fly away, they leave behind an egg. When it hatches, the little gosling thinks Aput is her daddy. Aput goes around to the other animals, looking for help, and each animal suggests various things that a baby needs. It’s an adorable story about becoming a new parent, adopting a baby, and a community working together to take care of a baby. That, and my 4-year-old loves saying “Daddy Honk Honk!” like the little gosling.
Here’s another book that illustrates “it takes a village”—most of the time it feels like Rocket Raccoon is baby Groot’s surrogate dad, but, as GeekMom Karen Walsh nicely explained, all of the Guardians of the Galaxy work together in parenting this crazy little tree. Night Night, Groot features a host of Marvel Universe characters rounding up the bad guys so that little Groot can get to bed, with rhyming verse and really cute illustrations. (GeekMom Kelly Knox wrote a little more about the book in this post, which also includes a video of Zoe Saldana reading the book aloud.)
This book of poems is written from the children’s point of view, celebrating dads as they play and cut hair and read stories. There are stay-at-home dads, far away dads in the military, sleeping dads, stern dads, silly dads. The torn-paper illustrations are wonderful, and I also like that there’s a lot of diversity in the dads and kids pictured throughout the book.
Costain and Lovšin celebrate dads with this rhyming verse about all the things they do for their kids, paired with illustrations of daddy dogs and their puppies. (It goes nicely with their book Mommies Are Amazing, which is filled with cats.)
Lizzie’s in the market for the perfect dad. Hers always tells the same old jokes and falls asleep while she’s telling a story. So she goes to the newly opened Daddy Depot, planning to trade her dad in for something else, like maybe a Rocker Dad or an Astronaut Dad. But none of them quite seem to fit … until she spots a particular dad doing a silly dance. Ok, sure, the ending won’t be surprising at all to the parents, but it’s a fun, silly book about realizing how much you like your own dad. (Whether it’s convincing to your kids … that’s a whole ‘nother story.)
This is parenting advice in the form of jokes—or perhaps jokes in the form of parenting advice. Doug Moe writes about becoming a dad, then the various stages of a child’s development, while trying to figure out how to be a New Dad (as opposed to “Old Dad,” who left the parenting to the womenfolk). He offers answers to important questions like “Is my child too annoying for this restaurant?” and “Who is worse: Franklin or Caillou?” (Note: An informal survey of GeekDad/GeekMom writers suggests the answer is Caillou, by a long shot.)
It’s mostly a humor book, but there is some real advice mixed in with the laughs. He addresses the double-standard when it comes to being a dad: you’ll be treated like an idiot who doesn’t know how to work with kids, but just showing up to an event makes you a super dad. He addresses the difficulty of meeting other dads (or attending playgroups that are mostly moms). While this book may not totally prepare you for fatherhood, at least you’ll be able to laugh about being unprepared.
Disclosure: I received review copies of these books.