Happy Father’s Day! In thinking about this holiday, I got to thinking about some of the more unique dad books that we have floating around. Seemed only right to follow up the classic father books group with some fun, slightly different, and more unique books about dads. Let’s read three more books about fathers!
1. Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins, 2015
This book was an instant hit in our home when it came out last fall. I’ve had it on my pile to post about for months, but it never stays there long as my girls steal it away the second they spy it. We have a deep love of bears around here between Little Bear, Winnie-the-Pooh, Paddington Bear, and the many bears that grace the picture book world. Mother Bruce has gone straight to the favorite stack and most likely will earn himself a classic title, at least in our house.
The story is about Bruce who is a rather grumpy, hermit type of bear. He really only likes eggs, collecting and cooking them in various fancy ways thanks to the internet. But it is Bruce’s love for eggs that lands him in trouble. One particular batch of goose eggs he collects from a mother goose happen to hatch and mistake Bruce for their parent. He tries to get rid of them; but when he fails, his truly lovable self comes through and he takes on the role of loving provider in the most wonderful, hysterical, and endearing ways. The art is lovely as well as hilarious. The text is cleverly succinct, leaving the perfect amount of interplay between what is written and what is actually illustrated. Bruce is an excellent combination of gruff and lovable. I think he makes an unusually perfect dad.
2. Up! by Kristine O’Connell George, illustrated by Hiroe Nakata, 2005
This book was on my oldest daughter’s favorite pile for quite a while. It is very lyrical with rhyming text and describes one of the best activities in any kid’s life – a trip to the park with dad.
Hiroe Nakata was an illustrator that we adored with one of our favorite baby books and I ended up purposefully searching for her other works. We love her illustrations with their bright colors, constant movement, and loose borders. In this book, the text pairs so sweetly and we quote it often. It is a fun read, easily enjoyable over and over again as it is light and bouncy in rhythm too! What better way to celebrate dad than thinking about a favorite walk and playtime with him?
3. Tell Me A Tattoo Story by Alison McGhee, illustrated by Eliza Wheeler, 2016
I must admit, I haven’t decided how I feel about this book yet. I received it early this year to look over, and it just doesn’t get out of my head. I can’t say that I’ve ever seen anything like it before. Can you name another picture book specifically about tattoos? I cannot.
I’m not a huge fan of the perspective of the text – the father speaking the entire time, asking the boy’s questions and then answering them. It annoys me to read aloud in that way. But I keep looking past that because the story is so unique. The father tells the story of his son’s favorite tattoos – a favorite part of a book he read with his mom, helpful advice from his father, the time he met the boy’s mother, and finally a heart with a favorite date in it. It is an obviously repeated and touching moment between father and son.
I struggle with my own feelings about this book mainly because I don’t really care for tattoos myself. But I love when a picture book broaches a subject that has never been covered before. And I love the feel of the illustrations, not a huge surprise considering it is the amazing and much admired, Eliza Wheeler. I think her illustrations are a perfect compliment to this story. They are soft and muted, adding a warmth to the story — honestly something that would not immediately come to mind when thinking about tattoos. The stereotypical person that would be pictured with tattoos is not a loving, caring father as shown here. I love this book for breaking the stereotype, for showing a different kind of family, for celebrating fatherhood and stories in an incredibly unique way.
I hope you had a lovely Father’s Day with all the wonderful dads in your life. And let me know your favorite dad books, please. I’m always looking for new ones. I cannot wait to seek out the newest Flying Eye Books title, My Dad Used to be So Cool by Keith Negley. It features a dad with tattoos too!