Happy Father’s Day – Celebrating Dads, and Granddads too!
In anticipation of Father’s Day we’re sharing our favorite books that showcase Dads and Granddads–the books that show us Dads of all shapes and sizes, human and otherwise, those fellows who aren’t afraid of looking silly and most of all aren’t afraid to let their kids know that they love them! Join the celebration and wrap up a book for your Dad too.
Hop On Pop by Dr. Seuss
This might be one of the first books you read with your Dad, and you probably enjoyed it so much that you didn’t even know you were learning to read! Rhyming text, pure silliness and a portrait of a dad and happy hopping kids may just make this the ideal read for the whole family. It’s perfect for Father’s Day and bedtime reading all year round.
How to Babysit a Grandpa by Jean Reagan, illustrated by Lee Wildish
This how to manual is the perfect gift to give to a grandchild or grandpa, and a laugh out loud funny story to share with all of the members of your family and great for reading aloud. Told from the point of view of the young boy, Mom and Dad are going out and Grandpa is just arriving–of course our young narrator firmly believes that HE is babysitting Grandpa, and he’s got a full day planned. The plans: ” including what to eat for snack (anything dipped in ketchup, ice cream topped with cookies, cookies topped with ice cream) what to do on a walk (find lizards and dandelion puffs, be on the lookout for puddles and sprinklers), and how to play with a grandpa (build a pirate cave, put on a scary play)”. The perfect formula for the best babysitting day ever!
Giddy-Up, Daddy! by Troy Cummings
Kids love their daddies for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which they make excellent horsies! They offer plenty of sitting room, strong backs and will go anywhere within means. In this delightful picture book, author Troy Cummings imagines what would happen if some nasty varmints tried to take advantage of a daddy’s inexhaustible love for play with his kids. One day, Daddy, while practicing his moves outdoors, is lassoed by some horse rustlers and taken to a rodeo where he soon bucks himself free; but, still in pursuit, he finds himself in treacherous circumstances–first on a circus high wire, then having to scurry through a polo field in the middle of a match and finally among champion racehorses at the finish line of the Kentucky Derby. It is only after reaching Canada and the Canadian Mounties capture the rustlers that Daddy can return home where he belongs. This is a perfect Father’s Day read-aloud BUT daddies be forewarned: be sure to have plenty of Bengay on hand. -Tim
Pink Me Up by Charise Mericle Harper
We love Charise Mericle Harper in this house and Pink Me Up is no exception. Charise concocts the perfect way for little girls who love pink to bond with their fathers. I can’t say my husband would go for getting “pinked up,” but it’s fun to see all the ways dads in different professions might look in pink. Charming! –Deanna
Just Me and My Dad by Mercer Mayer
There is a reason Mercer Mayer books are still beloved by kids of all ages. Just Me and My Dad is the sweet, funny, almost wordless story of Little Critter and his (or her? The character is kind of ambiguous!) trip to the woods with dad. They encounter all kinds of camping mishaps, from tent spots already occupied by wildlife, to bears who steal hard-won fish straight from the pan, but in the end, parent/child bonding is had by the two as they share a tent under the stars. My kids love finding the little spider and grasshopper that hide in each spread, and I love the way that Little Critter is a mischievous kid who also loves and respects his parents. –Erin
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
It’s interesting, and quite fitting, as someone who has spent his life’s work in childrens books, that many of my fondest father/daughter memories are book themed. There was my discovery of the undeniable magic of Goodnight, Moon… a book that I only truly “got” after I read it (and delightedly re-read over and over) to my daughter as a toddler. Or how, during a 3 year stretch in her early childhood, being compelled mercilessly to read ONLY the Berenstain Bear stories to her. I shamefully admit that I would take highly irreverent liberties with my presentation—only to be corrected by my daughter’s relentlessly accurate memory of the text. But topping the list of our father/daughter read-aloud bonding moments was our shared discovery of that most wonderful book—The Penderwicks. She was older by then, 11– but my wife and I still shared bedtime reading pleasures with Joanna. How excited I was to begin reading the story to her one night. After a chapter, she wanted more… WE wanted more… but sleep won out. So, off to bed until morning, and eager to continue, she picked up the reading to me, in the car, as I drove her to school. So that’s how it went—a chapter from me to her at night, and a chapter from her to me in the morning. We didn’t want it to end… and truly it hasn’t, as we often re-visit that time with a smile. -Alan
Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead
There are many things to love about Rebecca Stead’s Liar & Spy, the follow-up to her Newbery Medal-Winner When You Reach Me: A fun mystery, a tale of friendship, the true-to kids dialogue. But what I loved most, the passages that I chose to read over and over and over again always involved the relationship between the main character Georges and his loveable and silly father. At the story’s beginning Georges’ dad is a little down-on-his-luck, having just lost his job and taking over full parental responsibilities while George’s mom spends all her time at the hospital where she works. But he remains optimistic, taking Georges to get their favorite Chinese food restaurant and giggling over the fortune cookies, encouraging him to make friends in their new apartment building, and encouraging Georges to deal with the little things as they come when Georges goes to him about some problems he’s having at school. Referring to the Seurat painting that hangs up in their home, he tells Georges that “the dots matter.” Great advice. The type of advice my dad would give. It’s reasons like this that I think Liar & Spy would make a great book to share with Dad on Father’s Day…maybe a book you weren’t already thinking would do the trick to show how much you’ve learned from him and how much you care. But I promise it does. –Bobbie
Wishing you all a Happy Father’s Day!
Please share your favorite Father’s Day books in our comments section.