This week has felt very focused on dads, even more so than usual thanks to Father’s Day this Sunday, and my husband being out of town all week. I’m starting to think he planned it that way as my girls have been talking about Daddy non-stop and we all cannot wait for his arrival. Unfortunately though, single parenting for the week has made any hopes of fun Father’s Day gifts go completely out the window. Survival first; celebration planning second. But, I did what I always tend to do when celebrating or thinking about something specific… we read Dad-themed books. And of course reading several books in succession made me think, I need to post those as a Let’s Read Three series! So, lucky you, I’ve got not one – but two posts forthcoming all about dads.
Now, my favorite Dad picture book of all time will always be The Daddy Book which you can see in all of its glory on my review post a couple of years back. And we also love any Little Bear story about Father Bear. But for this grouping I grabbed some classics. These are most likely on a lot of people’s favorite lists considering the Golden Book legacy and the illustrators involved, so I’m calling them great classics. Let’s Read Three (classic) books about fathers!
1. Just Like Dad by Gina & Mercer Mayer, 1993
I have odd feelings when it comes to the Little Critter books by the Mayers. I’ve never been a huge fan of the characters themselves, but the genius of Mercer Mayer’s illustrations always keeps me coming back to the books. This one is no exception. The title alone is just right to me. Little Critter spends the whole book commenting on things his dad does that he can’t wait to learn to do himself, and be just like dad. Some of the items feel dated, perhaps; but most of them are completely relatable to any kid and the slight humor popping up absolutely cracks me up. Things like Little Critter stating that he’ll hit a ball out of the park like his dad, or at least he’ll be able to hit it and the picture showing the dad making a terrible flop of a small hit. Or the critter saying he can’t wait to mow the lawn like dad, and adding that his dad says he can’t wait until he can do that too. Ha! This book is sweet, endearing, and has a little clever dad-humor thrown in as well.
2. We Help Daddy by Mini Stein, picture by Eloise Wilkin, 1962
One of my favorite things about these classic dad books are how dated they are. It just seems so ironic for things about dads to be old-school, considering most kids go through a time when they really think Dad is out-of-date. This book is definitely dated, but in a perfectly classic dad kind of way. The father is always pictured smoking a pipe – watering the garden, washing the dog, trimming the hedges, fixing a door — all activities done while puffing on the pipe. But the story is saccharinely sweet about a little boy and girl helping their dad with a huge amount of things around the home. They are big helpers, obviously admiring and mimicking dad, all while mom bakes in the kitchen. I’m not going to lie, I love this. It may not be true for everyone, or the desired home-life for all; but there is something incredibly simple and beautiful about this family and the point of the book is helping their manly dad.
3. Papa Small by Lois Lenski, 1951
This book almost appears even more dated than the last, but oh! we love it around here. It is a small book to match the Small family. The story follows Papa Small, telling about his family, what he does each day, and how the family spends their time. Written in the 50s, it does have the typical stereotypes about home and work, but there is also a great deal of teamwork and sharing the responsibilities. I love it for that. And my youngest loves this book thanks to its small stature, adorable illustrations, and the simple rundown of Monday, Tuesday, etc….
What better way to celebrate Father’s Day than with waxing nostalgic about dads and all the things they do that we love! Happy classic Father’s Day reading. I’ll be back soon with some newer, more unique Father’s Day themed books.