Thursday, May 28, 2009

Dads and Picture Books, again

Damon Syson of the Times asks, "Where are all the nice, normal dads in children's books?"
Not only did I find precious few role-model dads, I found hardly any dads at all. In all the picture books piled up around our house — more than 100 of them, in unsightly towers — mothers appeared in just under half and were invariably portrayed in a positive light. Fathers cropped up in nine, of which only five took a positive role in parenting.
He does admit that his sample is both small and skewed towards older books. Well, Damon, I'm going to point you at Book Dads to start finding great books with great daddies. But it's a fair complaint, as any librarian who's ever tried to put together a half-decent Fathers' Day storytime knows.

Quite aside from the "I Love My Daddy, He's the Best in the Universe!" genre, it's hard to find a book where Dad is a part of the child's everyday world. I cogitated for a time and only came up with a few: Mo Willems's Knuffle Bunny, Bob Graham's How to Heal a Broken Wing, and Britta Teckentrup's How Big is the World?

Of course, that's off the top of my admittedly muddled head. So I'll put it to you. What's your favorite picture book where Dad is a positive presence?


Becky said...

Grizzly Dad and Crocodaddy are 2009 titles that come to mind. And I just finished Rattletrap Car by Phyllis Root. All feature daddies playing with their kids--which I take as a positive portrayal. Granted, dads have to do more than just play to be a good parent, but it's a start at least.

Peaceful Reader said...

Kevin Henkes' books always have positive Dads, albeit "mice fathers"-still good, t-shirt and sandal-wearing dads!!