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I’ve been thinking about fathers lately. According to the legend of the middle class, fathers once spent all day at work while mothers stayed home and looked after the kids. The truth has probably always been a mixed bag, but it certainly is today. Families come in all shapes, and while some modern families do match the legend, there is a world of variations. This Father’s Day, let’s celebrate loving daddies of all kinds by reading some special picture books.
The Sweetest Book in the World
Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney is a best-selling, beautiful book about a rabbit father lulling his child to sleep as they tell each other how much they love one another. The sweetness of the story and pictures are enough to melt a parent’s heart, but my favorite thing about this book is that the parent rabbit just happens to be male. There is nothing unusually noteworthy about him spending time with his child. They love each other, and that is that.
Todd Parr is known for books full of cheerful illustrations that champion individuality. In The Daddy Book, he celebrates daddies of all sorts. Also pick up The Family Book for a fun look at the many shapes families can take, from a nuclear family to grandparents raising grandchildren, from stepparents to same-sex parents to single parents.
Is This the Way We Get Things Done?
For a taste of the silly, check out Oh, Daddy! by Bob Shea. In this joyfully illustrated book, a little hippo tells readers how he has to show his daddy how to do everything, whether it’s getting dressed or eating carrots. His daddy really could not get along without him. This book leads one to suspect Bob Shea may have a little hippo of his own at home.
Everyone and Everything
What Mommies Do Best/What Daddies Do Best by Laura Numeroff (author of the always-popular If You Give A Mouse A Cookie), makes effective use of a clever design idea. Starting the book, we read about how mommies can make a birthday cake, teach you how to ride a bike, or take care of you when you’re sick. Halfway through, we have to turn the book over to read from the other side about what daddies can do, and we find out that they can do all the same things as mommies!
Many Shapes and Sizes
Dad and Pop: an Ode to Fathers and Stepfathers by Kelly Bennett, provides a friendly, child-centric perspective on fathers and stepfathers. The little girl in the story has two daddies, one called Dad and the other Pop. They seem as different as can be, but we learn that when it matters most, they are the same: they both love her very much.
On Fathers’ Day and all year round, let’s celebrate the men in our children’s lives. Whether your child has a special connection to a father, stepfather, grandpa, uncle, big brother, or family friend, these picture books are a good place to start.
Ellie A. is the Youth Services Librarian at Belmont Library. She loves to see fathers at her storytimes.