Sunday, 15 June 2014

In praise of fathers - books with lovely daddies!

Amazing Dad
I was just going to look at My Dad by Anthony Browne for this blog post, it seems to cover everything about dads and is such a lovely book. It tells us how the dad is brilliant at all things (football, singing, dancing, wins the race at sport's day easily!) but most of all he's 'my dad'. It's just wonderful and funny!

But then I was thinking about the way fathers are depicted in picture books and thought I'd offer up a small selection to look at. Penguin did a similar thing on their blog this week, they concentrated purely on Penguin books (understandably), but it's still worth a read.

Detached Dad
Gorilla, another Anthony Browne fabby-do whizz-corker of a book, is the story of a dad who just doesn't make time for his daughter. Hannah is desperate for her dad to take notice of her and do some fun things with her. Then one night her toy gorilla comes alive and takes her on a nighttime adventure. Finally her dad takes some notice and they end up going to the zoo together. It's a beautiful, poignant and memorable picture book.

Ridiculous Dad
This isn't really from the picture book genre but Daddy Pig from Peppa Pig is certainly one of the most prolific dads around right now. Poor daddy pig is always getting everything wrong and into all kinds of problems but he's also very hands on and involved!

Adventuring Dad
We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury is superb and an all-time favourite and it's easy to see why. The dad and his kids go on an exciting hunt for a bear through all kinds of terrain with the classic refrain 'We're going on bear hunt, we're going to catch a big one, we're not scared' echoing throughout. When they find the bear though they are scared and end up snuggled in bed all together.

Champion Dad
In The Tiger who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr we see more of Sophie, the little girl, and her mummy than we do of the daddy. But at the end when Sophie's daddy returns and finds Sophie and her mummy with no food or even water in the house he whisks them off to tea at the local cafe. Maybe a bit old fashioned in the 'knight on shining armour' theme but also an extremely comforting thing to happen!

Sleepy Dad
In the Gruffalo's Child by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler the dad spends the whole time asleep while his child goes off on a whole adventure on her own. It's immensely comforting to know that although the child is alone the daddy is there snoozing in the background and would surely come to help if needed!

Disbelieving Dad
In Dogs Don't do Ballet, by Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie, Biff the dog wants to be a ballerina but Dad doesn't think dogs can be ballet dancers and his owner (we don't find out her name because she narrates) is incredibly surprised and delighted when Biff proves them all wrong. The dad in this is a bit stern and serious but is shown to be taking his daughter to the ballet and engaged in her interests. He just doesn't listen to her when she says her dog likes ballet!

Trying to get home Dad
Stickman by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler is a heartwarming story of Stickman trying to get home to the family tree to his family. It's an adventure story but also a story of a dad's devotion and love for his family. Finally he returns, just in time for Christmas!

So there you are, a selection of different fathers, I'm sure there's many I've missed and don't even know about!

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