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What a nice time of year to celebrate our dear fathers! Just as summer begins. Here are some great books to enjoy with dad as we enter summertime. Almost all of these books are picture books and are good for all ages unless otherwise indicated.
A Father’s Love, by Hannah Holt, and nicely illustrated with hand-drawn outlines using pencil and pen and then colored digitally by Yee Von Chan, celebrates dads everywhere as they lovingly dote on their offspring. Many of the fathers represented in this book are animals from around the world. The rhyming text goes hand-in-hand with the theme. Beneath a mighty REDWOOD TREE, / a fox tends to his family. / He keeps them safe / by digging chutes. / This father’s love / runs deep as roots. I especially like the statement on the back cover: A Father’s LOVE is everywhere… This book is best for ages three to eight.
Daddy-Sitting, by Eve Coy, is an adorable tribute to daddy as he attempts to watch his child. But, perhaps it’s his little girl who is watching him. The story is told through the eyes of the little girl as she describes all the duties that she must do to keep track of daddy. The antics that she must prevail upon are funny, especially coming from this youngster. On one page her daddy is carrying a basket of clothes and you see he is about to trip over toys she has left out. The text reads: Sometimes he doesn’t watch where he’s going. The watercolor and colored pencil are wonderfully done and bring out the loving relationship father and daughter have with each other. Be sure to check out the hilarious back end-pages. This book is best suited for ages three to eight.
Raj and the Best Day Ever, by Sebastian Braun, takes place on an outing with father and son (both tigers). Raj has made a list of all that he and dad are going to do while on their adventure. The first activity on the list is to go to the library. But soon things begin to go wrong when Dad forgets to bring his wallet. And on top of that, it begins to rain. Raj then declares that it’s now becoming the worse day ever. But Dad comes up with some perfect alternatives making their adventure together perfect. The vibrant color, made in mixed media, is rich and the illustrations have many goings-on with other animals on every page.
Good Dad Diego, by Brenna Maloney, showcases photos of a pug in hilarious poses and hats as he goes through many antics and as he helps with his family needs throughout the day. The book states he is not only the king of his castle, but his duties extend to many areas in the household. Sometimes he wears a police hat as he lays down the law: Stop digging up the plants! He wears a chef’s hat and cooks meat casserole-again. The pictures of the pug are hilarious making this dog the perfect reflection of dad and his jobs around the house.
My Papi has a Motorcycle, by Isabel Quintero, and illustrated with watercolor painted with texture by Zeke Pena, has young Daisy anxiously waiting to hear the roar of her dad’s truck as it enters the driveway. She grabs two helmets and runs to greet him. Both Papi and daughter head over to his motorcycle where she jumps on the back. As they zoom out onto the road, she feels the shiny blue metal of the motorcycle glow in the sun. She imagines that both her Papi and herself become a spectacular celestial thing soaring on asphalt. A comet! The author was able to convey her loving experiences with her father and the rides she took with him on his motorcycle when she was young. The elegant descriptions of the strong bond between father and daughter, along with the beautiful illustrations, are evident.
Dream Within a Dream, by Patricia MacLachlan, is a short novel that is rich in language and touching in story. Young Louisa must stay once again on Deer Island with her brother, Theo, as her parents head across the world studying birds. She wants nothing more than to get off this remote island and see the exciting world with her parents. Whereas Theo loves it there. However, Louisa is about to see this gorgeous island and her sweet grandparents like she never has before. This beautiful story will linger long after you read it. What a wonderful read-out-loud!
The Great Indoors, by Julie Falatko, and illustrated with humor by Ruth Chan, has a storyline where the tables are cleverly turned. A family goes camping, and in turn, animals you might see on a camping trip come to stay in their house. Beavers cook up a storm making a giant mess. Skunks lay on the couch. Deer dance all over the house. But before you know it, these animals miss their great outdoors. Good thing, because guess who comes home?
Tree to Sea, by Shelley Moore Thomas, and beautifully painted with digital and mixed media, this book celebrates the beauty of nature and its connection to man. Bees show me how to work hard. When work is shared the rewards are as sweet as honey. The lyrical text ties into the colorful pictures that fill the double page.
Sea Glass Summer, by Michelle Houtz, and gorgeously painted with watercolor by Bagram Ibatoulline, has a boy searching the seaside for treasures from the ocean. His grandmother gives him a magnifying glass that was his grandfather’s. She also gives him sea glass and the wonderment of it stirs his imagination. This dazzling epode contracts possible stories of beach remnants of long ago.
Caterpillar Summer, by Gillian McDunn, is a fiction book good for ages nine and up and invokes a tenderness and loving relationship between siblings and family. Cat is constantly watching and taking care of her little brother since her father passed. Her mom is now working so hard trying to pay all the bills. But when plans suddenly change and Cat and her little brother are staying at their grandparents they have never known. Cat realizes that this turns out to be a blessing because she can be a child again and enjoy life. This story is rich with adventure, discoveries and family.