Celebrate Father’s Day

   Did you know that there are over 70 million fathers in the United States? And that last year close to 25 million of those dads had children under the age of 18? Maybe you know a stay-at-home dad? Last year an estimated 176,000 dads were their children’s primary care giver. Find more fun facts about dads at the Census website. Saturday, June 17th, 2012 is the special day the United States celebrates our dads.

The story behind Father’s Day dates back to 1909, when Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Washington first proposed the idea of a day to acknowledge fathers. She wanted to honor her own father, William Smart, who after becoming a widower raised his six children alone. The first celebration happened on June 19th, 1910–the month of Smart’s birthday. The first presidential proclamation honoring Father’s Day was in 1966 and in 1972, President Richard Nixon signed a law making the holiday permanent.

President Obama has made a push for fathers to increase their role in their children’s lives. His Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative is an “effort to encourage individuals, especially fathers, to be involved in the lives of their children, and to be positive role models and mentors for the children in their lives and communities.” To learn more visit http://www.fatherhood.gov.

The selections below are books that feature many different kinds of fathers. When searching for Father’s Day books in the CLCD database, try using some of the many different names we have for fathers such as papa and dad-this will broaden the scope of your search.

Contributor: Emily Griffin


Big Brave Daddy
Smiljana Coh

Charlie loves his big and brave daddy. While Charlie does things like swim in the bath tub, climb to the top of the slide, and ride a tricycle, his daddy swims in deep water, climbs to the top of the mountain, and races his bicycle up and down hills. When Charlie grows up he will do all those big and brave things with his daddy; “They will ski together, they will ride together, and they will walk the world together.” From Croatia, Smiljana Coh uses digital illustrations, in warm pastels, which are young, playful, and slightly quirky. A large board book perfect for Father’s Day; Dad’s and their preschoolers will enjoy reading about the differences between what Charlie and his dad can do. The activities that Charlie and Daddy do can offer conversation starters and prompts for further discussion. 2012, Blue Apple Books, Ages 2 to 5, $10.99. Reviewer: Emily Griffin (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9781609052119

Faster! Faster!
Leslie Patricelli

A family of four, plus dog, are together at the park on a beautiful day. Mom, with Baby strapped to her front, disappears after the first spread, and Patricelli turns our attention to Dad and daughter. The young girl is on Dad’s back as he happily consents to be ridden around. “Faster!”Faster!” she cries on each page. Though this is the only text for most of the story each spread creatively tells a new story in their game. At first they are Dad and Daughter but Dad transforms after each page turn; from puppy to bunny to ostrich. Each animal faster than the last. Pony and cheetah and eagle are next. A big splash sends the two down into the ocean where Dad becomes dolphin and then….Sea turtle? “Faster? Faster” asks Daughter, confused. Her ride has run out of gas. Sea turtle morphs back into a tuckered out Dad lying flat on the ground. This pair of adventurers are done, for now. No matter what animal Dad is imaged to be, he is always wearing the same purple tie. Effective for holding onto under high speeds but also helpful for recognition purposes. Patricelli also hints at what the next animal will be, often by casually having that animal, or part of it, visible on the preceding page. The illustrations are the clear, colorful, textured, and playful art that Patricelli is known for. An energetic and imaginative picture book for the preK crowd. 2012, Candlewick Press, Ages 2 to 5, $15.99. Reviewer: Emily Griffin (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9780763654733

I Love My Daddy
Giles Andreae
Illustrated by Emma Dodd

Colorful illustrations brighten every page of this whimsical book which features a young child cheerily reflecting on the special qualities of Dad. Told entirely in rhyme, the toddler tells of horsie back rides from Dad, dancing to Dad’s silly songs, and watching TV with Dad when Mommy’s not home. The toddler also enjoys the prickles on Dad’s chin, playing with Dad on the swings, and wearing Dad’s big brown shoes. There is only one sentence on each page, the print is large, and the vocabulary is simple. Each page has a warm and playful full-size illustration. The illustrations are soft, clever, and friendly, and they add to the book’s charm and appeal. Giles Andreae is an award-winning author and Emma Dodd is an award-honored illustrator. This book will undoubtedly become a favorite of many young children who will clamor to have it read again and again. 2011, Disney Hyperion Books/Disney Book Group (orig. Orchard Books/Hachette Children’s Books), Ages 3 to 7, $12.99. Reviewer: Denise Daley (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9781423143284

Lucky Luis
Gary Soto
Illustrated by Rhode Montijo

Nervous about Little League tryouts, Luis listens to his dad’s stories about superstitious rituals from his own baseball days: one super-slugger teammate never changed his lucky socks all season, and Luis’s own Papi wore his belt buckle on the lucky side of his hip. So when Luis shines during the tryouts after first eating a “tryout” (free sample) at the market, he decides that eating “tryouts” is the secret to his strong showing. Sure enough, when he isn’t able to get himself free samples later in the season, his streak of success comes to an abrupt end. Finally, during the championship game, he takes his father’s advice that playing well is not about luck, but about “practice and listening to your coach.” Young baseball fans should empathize with Luis’s triumphs and tribulations and enjoy the warmth of the father-son relationship Soto creates for Luis and Papi. But the real lesson Luis needs to learn appears to be that he plays well when he believes in himself-as he did early in the season when he nibbled his “tryouts”-and plays poorly when he begins to have self-doubt. It’s confidence, rather than practice, that seems to make the real difference here. Soto’s engaging story is accompanied by illustrations depicting the characters as cartoonish, anthropomorphized rabbits, which gives an odd reading to the line, “[Luis] struck out twice, and a fast grounder hopped like a rabbit right through his legs.” 2012, GP Putnam’s Sons/Penguin, Ages 5 to 8, $16.99. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D. (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9780399245046

Mole’s Babies
David Bedford
Illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw

When Morris, the mole with glasses and a necktie, hears that Mini will soon have their babies, he is thrilled. He is also very anxious to have happy babies, so he looks around to find out how. He sees happy bunnies hopping with their dad. But his hopping efforts end badly. So do his attempts to flap like happy, chirpy chicks, or splash like quacky ducklings. Worrying about his failure as a father, Morris returns to the molehill to have Mini reassure him that, “Our babies only needâ?¦love.” “Love makes happy babies!” And Morris can give them “all the love they would ever need.” The cover illustration, with its large polka dot-embellished mushrooms used for play by a trio of happy little moles, sets the emotional tone for the anthropomorphic characters. The scenes focus on the moles and other bit players in the action. Some decorative and bold-faced type adds to the visuals. The action on the end pages reinforces the theme of family. 2012, Tiger Tales, Ages 3 to 6, $12.95. Reviewers: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9781589251083

My Dad is Big and Strong, But…: A Bedtime Story
Coralie Saudo
Illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo

In plenty of time for Father’s Day, My Dad is Big and Strong BUT…: A Bedtime Story has appeared, a delightful bedtime story with role reversal featured! With a definite quirk, a twinkle and a smile, kids will love reading My Dad is Big and Strong BUT… to their dads at bedtime. You see, this Dad is big and strong, BUT he doesn’t want to go to bed! And even after several stories, he begs to sleep in (his son’s) bed instead! And he’s afraid of the dark! It is certainly an exhausting task to settle down this Dad and tuck him in his own bed and get him to sleep with the light on outside his room just until he goes to sleep. But what can you do, you’ve got to love this Dad! Muted color whimsical illustrations on thick paper pages make this a solid, masculine feeling children’s book that will delight and amuse both dads and kids everywhere. 2012, Enchanted Lion Books, Ages 4 up, $16.95. Reviewer: Midwest Book Review (Children’s Bookwatch: March 2012).

ISBN: 9781592701223

One Cool Friend
Toni Buzzeo
Illustrated by David Small

When Elliot’s father asks him if he wants to go to the aquarium, the suited and bow-tied youngster reluctantly agrees. But there he is delighted to discover penguins, “properly dressed” like him. He asks his dad if he can have one. His father agrees, giving him twenty dollars to buy what he thinks will be a stuffed toy. Instead, Elliot pops a live one in his backpack and brings it home. Naming it Magellan, Elliot provides it with a skating rink in his air-conditioned room and does some research about penguins. When his father finally discovers Magellan in the bathtub, both he and Elliot come to a surprising, happy agreement. Pen and ink, ink wash, watercolors, and colored pencils produce various size light-hearted illustrations to accompany the brief, matter-of-fact text. The up-tight youngster and his loosely academic father live comfortably parallel lives. The zoo penguins have a great time cavorting in their pool; boy and bird also enjoy their skating in the improvised frozen “old wading pool.” Each scene has details and conversational exchanges set in speech balloons sure to amuse readers. 2012, Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin Young Readers Group, Ages 5 to 8, $16.99. Reviewers: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9780803734135

Over in the Forest: Come and Take a Peek
Marianne Berkes
Illustrated by Jill Dubin

Through her adaptations of a popular folk song, author/educator Marianne Berkes has introduced youngsters to creatures of the ocean, jungle, Arctic and Australia. Over in the Forest, the fifth book in the eco-friendly series, brings children into the woodsy world of squirrels, deer, woodpeckers and box turtles. As they sing, little ones can examine Jill Dubin’s richly textured cut-paper illustrations for the tracks of the mother animals, count the offspring, and learn about a specific activity for each species. For example, the mother deer and her two fawns graze, the mother skunk and her nine kits spray and-playful gender switch-the father fox and his ten kits pounce. Additional facts about each animal and tips on being a wildlife detective assist parents and educators interested in expanding the adventure for their kids. 2012, Dawn, Ages 3 mo. to 2, $16.95. Reviewer: Mary Quattlebaum (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9781584691631

Updated 6/1/12

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If you’re interested in reviewing children’s and young adult books, then send a resume and writing sample to marilyn@childrenslit.com.

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