Father's Day kids books feature dads of all kinds

Posted May 12, 2008
Updated May 22, 2008

One girl likens her dad to a dog. One dad is convinced he's a bird. Another dad lives away and a fourth works late but has a great lullaby in a wide-ranging selection of children's books for Father's Day.

- "My Father the Dog" (Candlewick Press, $6.99, ages 4-7) by Elizabeth Bluemle and illustrated by Randy Cecil.

He scratches, fetches and growls when startled out of a nap. He likes the window rolled down and the breeze on his face during a drive. He pees on a tree and toots on the couch. Yep, this clownish dad is a lot like a dog as his daughter observes, but he's a loyal, loving one. Bluemle reassuringly promises in a postscript: "This book is not based on my own father. Honest, Dad, it's not."

- "Papa and Me" (HarperCollins/Rayo, $16.99, ages 4-8) by Arthur Dorros and illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez.

Stunning, dreamlike illustrations carry the simple story of a boy and his dad on a neighborhood walkabout. The book mixes Spanish words and simple phrases with their English equivalents as the two draw their faces in the sand and splash in puddles in the park. The colorful Gutierrez paintings wrap the pair in their own world, where abrazos (hugs) abound.

- "A Day with Dad" (Candlewick Press, $15.99, ages 4-8) by Bo R. Holmberg and illustrated by Eva Eriksson.

Tim's dad lives a train ride away and arrives for a day of fun. "This is my dad!" the boy proclaims to the ticket-taker at the movies and the waiter at the pizza shop. Then, sadly, it's time for dad to go, but he promises to come again "real soon." The word "divorce" is not used, but the two excited, happy faces on dad's arrival and their looks of longing at his departure speak volumes.

- "Daddy Hug" (HarperCollins, $16.99, ages 3-5) by Tim Warnes and illustrated by Jane Chapman.

Daddies come in all shapes and sizes in this celebration from the animal world. Chapman's detailed illustrations show off giant, jiggly walrus dad and tall, fluffy ostrich dad. Bee dad bumbles and orangutan dad's tummy rumbles. Slimy green snake dad keeps tabs on 14 offspring all by himself. Go dad! Sparsely worded but nicely handled from this husband-wife team.

- "My Dad's a Birdman" (Candlewick Press, $15.99, ages 9-12) by David Almond and illustrated by Polly Dunbar.

"Believe in it, and off you go," Lizzie's daft dad urges, convinced he can fly like a bird using wings he made with feathers from the garden. A human bird competition transforms a sad man and motherless girl as they're drawn deeper into a world of fancy patched together with wings and faith and hope and love. Based on a play by Almond, the British author of the acclaimed young readers' novel "Skellig."

- "Daddy's Lullaby" (Simon & Schuster, $7.99, ages baby-4) by Tony Bradman and illustrated by Jason Cockcroft.

Daddy comes home late one night to a sleeping household, except for baby and the cat in this board book version of a previous release offering a story dads the world over might identify with and ending with a special lullaby: "Rock-a-bye baby, in Daddy's arms, Daddy will hold you, safe from all harm. Daddy will love you, and sing you to sleep, love you forever - a promise he'll keep."


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