Kids' books: 7 new picture books starring Dad
With Father's Day approaching (June 20 this year), here's a roundup of children's books about dads. The titles include "The Fathers Are Coming Home" (by the author of "Goodnight Moon"), "Oh, Daddy!" and "Stars Above Us."
Scripps Howard News Service
This Father's Day, get Dad a present he can share with his children: a picture book.
To get you started, here's a look at some new picture books in which dads play a starring role:
• Each dad has a different affectionate name for his child in "Daddy Calls Me Doodlebug" (Robin Corey/Random House, $7.99). A young whale says "Daddy calls me Shoo-Be-Doo ... we sing an ocean song," while an inchworm notes that "Daddy calls me Itty Bit ... a teeny-tiny measure." Author J.D. Lester's rhyming couplets are endearing but not drenched in sentimentality, while Hiroe Nakata's watercolor illustrations underscore this board book's upbeat tone. If you like this book, check out the companion volume, "Mommy Calls Me Monkeypants." (Ages infant-3 years.)
• In "Oh, Daddy!" (HarperCollins, $16.99), author/illustrator Bob Shea offers a hilarious look at how one hippo dad uses reverse psychology to persuade his recalcitrant preschooler to do routine tasks like getting dressed or getting into his car seat. Instead of doing battle with his little one, the dad does the tasks himself — all wrong. For example, when his little one won't get dressed, the dad tries to dress himself by putting underwear on his head, etc. Of course, his child tells Dad he's got it all wrong and then shows him how to do it right, getting himself dressed in the process. Shea's sly humor will tickle both preschoolers and their parents, who also will enjoy his brightly colored cartoonish illustrations. (Ages 4-7.)
• Amanda's afraid of the dark, so her dad teaches her about the wonderful things you can see in the dark, like the moon, stars and fireflies. But Amanda still doesn't much like the dark until her father helps her decorate her ceiling with specially painted stars that glow in the dark. It's a perfect solution and comes just in time, as Amanda's dad is about to leave for a lengthy overseas military assignment. In "Stars Above Us" (Putnam, $16.99), author Geoffrey Norman and illustrator E.B. Lewis team up to tell a poignant but ultimately hopeful tale of how the love between a father and his daughter survives a long-distance separation. Lewis' spectacular watercolor illustrations capture Amanda's emotions, as well as her close relationship with her dad. (Ages 4-8.)
• To their young children, dads are kings who know everything there is to know. In "My Father Knows the Names of Things" (Simon & Schuster, $15.99), author Jane Yolen offers an entertaining riff on this idea, showing a boy boasting of his dad's amazing knowledge of everything from "which mosses are the fuzziest" to "which insects are the buzziest." Yolen's rhyming text is perfectly complemented by Stephane Jorisch's watercolor-and-ink illustrations, which show a father-son duo cavorting through color-splashed pages, enjoying each other's company as they fly an airplane, do a bit of beekeeping and swim in the sea. (Ages 4-7.)
• Author Kelly Bennett and illustrator David Walker team up to present readers with a different way to look at fathers in "Your Daddy Was Just Like You" (Putnam, $16.99). Bennett's story focuses on a grandmother who is telling her young grandson that his father wasn't always so big and brave and perfect. In fact, when the boy's dad was little, he was scared of the dark, had timeouts and didn't like to lose baseball games. But he also was very much loved by his parents — just like his son. Walker's appealing illustrations reinforce the book's good cheer. (Ages 3-6.)
• Margaret Wise Brown is best known as the author of the classic picture book "Goodnight Moon." But Brown also wrote many other picture books. One of those is "The Fathers Are Coming Home" (McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster, $16.99). As always, Brown's text is deceptively simple, focusing on the homecomings of various types of fathers, from a ladybug father who "flies home to his little bugs that live under the log" to the bird father who brings his little ones a worm "and sings them a song." Stephen Savage's striking linocut illustrations wonderfully underscore the book's lyrical simplicity. (Ages 2-5)
• All kinds of fathers doing lots of fun and interesting activities with their children are featured in a lovely new ode to fatherhood, "My Father Is Taller Than a Tree" (Dial, $16.99). Joseph Bruchac's simple rhyming text has an undercurrent of deep emotion, which is evocatively expressed in the exquisite illustrations — done in crayon and pencil — by Wendy Anderson Halperin. Young readers will particularly like the way Halperin uses a combination of large and small illustrations on each page to extend the storyline. (Ages 4-8.)
Karen MacPherson, the children's/teen librarian at the Takoma Park, Md., Library, can be reached at Kam.Macpherson@gmail.com
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.