Thursday 3: Dads in Picture Books

“Dads are so in,” Elissa Cedarleaf Dahl said in the latest episode of Pratfalls of Parenting.  I laughed when I heard that, but I think it’s true.  At least when it comes to picture books. Prove it, you say?  Here are a few new picture books that come to mind:



Dad’s First Day by Mike Wohnoutka is about a little boy’s first day of school.  The little boy is completely ready for school, but the dad isn’t quite there yet.  This is exactly how I felt when my daughter started preschool.  Very cute story for parents, especially dads.

Ask Me by Bernard Waber follows a father and daughter as they walk and talk on a fall day.  The little girl’s loquacious inquisitiveness will be familiar to many parents, and the lovely art by one of my favorite illustrators adds to the sweet father-daughter story.

Tad and Dad by David Ezra Stein is a bedtime book about a little tadpole and his very patient dad who just wants to sleep.  We’ve all been there, right?

Want more? Try these links:


A Dad’s perspective…

Momoirs and mommy-blogs are very in right now, but there are a few dad blogs out there too.  I heard the stay-at-home dad behind the Captain Dad blog on NPR today, and it reminded me of Crawling: A Father’s First Year by Elisha Cooper.

I was curious about this memoir because I like Elisha Cooper’s children’s books.  His understated, realistic illustration style is unique among picture books, and I tend to like his work.  I wondered what it might be like to be a kidlit dad.

It turns out, it isn’t much different from being a kidlit mom.  He writes about not really even being a “kid person” despite ending up in the children’s book business, about how strange life with a baby can be and how amazing too.  We all worry and wonder what our baby will be like when they grow up.  Cooper gets it right as he considers how he influences his daughter:

“It would really suck to censor myself around my daughter.  That said, I can probably cut out “fuck.” I can watch less television with her.  I can cut down on, or at least use more judiciously, my scorn.  Because if I don’t edit myself a little bit, I fear my daughter will turn into a bad-food-eating, Coke-drinking, rap-playing, sports-watching, profanity-spewing misanthrope. The terrible thing, though, which I can barely admit to myself, is that my greater fear is that she won’t.”

Too true.