In my house, it seems, daddies can do no wrong—especially in the eyes of my 11-year-old twin daughters. (The same cannot always be said for dear old mom!) In honor of Father’s Day, here are four new picture books that salute proud papas everywhere.
Young children will enjoy the gentle rhymes of Sherry North’s Because I Am Your Daddy, illustrated by Marcellus Hall. This follow-up to Because You Are My Baby begins: “If I were a pilot, I would fly you to your school. / Your friends would all look up and say, ‘Your daddy is so cool!’ ”
The rhymes continue with the father voicing many “If I were” thoughts about being a baseball player, paleontologist, park ranger, movie director and all sorts of exciting professions. With each imagined activity, daddy, daughter and her dolly have an exciting adventure. This poem of mutual admiration ends with: “And if I were a wizard, I would make your dreams come true. / Because I am your daddy, I would do anything for you.”
Daddy/daughter bedtime reading doesn’t get any cozier. The text is accompanied by Hall’s fun and stylishly retro watercolors. His airline pilot and robot look like they could have come from the 1960s, while his use of color is lovely, especially in a northern sky night scene.
What's in a name
Acclaimed children’s author Jane Yolen wrote the delightful tribute My Father Knows the Names of Things in honor of her late husband, David Stemple. The encyclopedic dad in this book knows the names of many wonderful things, including mosses, insects, fish, cows, stars, cats and candies.
Stéphane Jorisch’s illustrations (watercolor, gouache, pen and ink) are whimsically delightful, making the father/child explorations great fun. The explorers wade through hugely tall sunflowers, head for the clouds in a biplane and explore the planets from an amusement park ride. Everything is fun and full of expression in Jorisch’s world—even a row of colorful birds in a cage.
Daddy Devotion is also alive and well in My Father is Taller Than a Tree, by another award-winning children’s author, Joseph Bruchac. This rhyming text features a variety of boys with their dads: old, young, white, black, Hispanic, Asian and even a blind dad. Wendy Anderson Halperin’s pastel illustrations show fathers and their sons enjoying splendid times together—playing the piano, walking on the beach, reading, playing chess, painting a doghouse. These tender scenes conclude with a panorama of sons and their dads, and this lovely line: “When I grow up and have a kid / we’ll do all the things that Dad and I did.”
Saluting stepfathers, too
Finally, blended families will adore Dad and Pop: An Ode to Fathers and Stepfathers. Writer Kelly Bennett celebrates how both a father and a stepfather can be equally fun and loving in very different ways. For instance, both father and stepfather bike (one on a bicycle, one on a motorcycle) and both love music (one goes for the symphony while the other rocks out). Paul Meisel’s colorful, energetic illustrations show dads with their daughters enjoying all sorts of entertaining outings together.