Book for Dads (and the Kids that Dig Them)

One of the best things about having M home on parental leave for nearly five months is that he is so comfortable with NS, and NS is so in love with him. The two of them are thick as thieves—no one gets the baby to giggle as hard as my husband, and M will casually toss our four month old baby towards the ceiling (as I watch with my heart in my throat) and then catch him, the two of them breaking down laughing—and when they wear their matching black onesies/tee shirts, they look like Russian nesting dolls of each other.

One of M’s favourite things to do with NS, when he’s not flinging him through the air, is read books. M and I are both avid readers—he can devour the latest Stephen King in a a few days, while I have a stack of New Yorkers on my bedside—and we’re hoping NS will inherit our love of the printed word. I spent a large part of my childhood reading absolute dross (think Babysitters Club) and classics like Anne of Green Gables and Bridge to Terabithia.

In honour of M’s literary bond with NS, here are some young-reader and board books that show great relationships between babies and their dads. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find many books that showed the bond between dads and daughters, which just means that we’ll probably have to write one someday.

Guess How Much I Love YouGuess How Much I love you is Sam McBratney’s bedtime tale about Little Nutbrown Hare, who tries to demonstrate the size of his love for Big Nutbrown Hare. Arms are outstretched, distances are invoked, and Little Nutbrown Hare is seriously impressed by Big Nutbrown Hare’s hopping skills. The watercolour illustrations by Anita Jeram are so sweet, and perfectly capture the look of adoration and gentle love the two hares share. If Dad is a fan of doing goofy voices and (carefully) riling the little ones up before bed, this is an excellent choice.

More More MoreA trio of interconnected stories form the basis of More More More Said the Baby by Vera B. Williams. I love this book because dad, grandma, and mom all make an appearance, reinforcing the idea that fathers are primary caregivers and extended families are important. The book also shows a white grandmother player with her Black grandson, which is awesome for families who want to see themselves reflected. The watercolour illustrations are mostly beautiful, and it’s another good bedtime choice.

Pete's a PizzaHaving a bad day? Pete can understand. In William Steig’s book Pete’s a Pizza, a lousy rain day transforms itself into an afternoon of imaginative play. Pete’s dad turns Pete into a pizza, with checkers standing in for pepperoni and the couch acting as the pizza oven. Pete’s dad is a regular guy who pays attention to his kid, and knows that a bout of silly pretend might cure a grump-fest.

 

Might DadsDo all little boys go through a cars-and-trucks phase? (My brother sure did: his first word was wheel). If your little dude/little miss) won’t let you pass a construction site without ten minutes of gawking and pointing, bring some of the mystique home with Joan Holub’s Mighty Dads. All manner of equipment from boom truck to steamroller get their moment in the spotlight, each accompanied by their tiny counterparts. One complaint: while the child-sized equipment isn’t specifically gendered as male or female, the book is probably going to appeal most to little boys, which is kind of a missed opportunity.

the_bureau_of_misplaced_dadsFor slightly older kids, Éric Veillé loopy story The Bureau of Misplaced Dads is pretty appealing. It’s the story of an unnamed little boy whose father goes missing, and his adventures inside the Bureau of Misplaced Dads. Dads through history and across the world are represented, albeit with a goofy, hang-dog demeanor. Pauline Martin’s illustrations of the lost papas match the story perfectly—they remind me of classic NFB animation and The Royal Tenenbaums—and kiddos can rest assured that, yes, the misplaced dad in question is eventually found.

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Kaitlyn Kochany
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More about Kaitlyn Kochany

Kaitlyn Kochany is a Toronto-area freelance writer and editor. She had her son, NS, in January 2016, and has been trying to sleep and write since then.

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