Friday 12 May 2017

ReaditDaddy's Picture Book of the Week - Week Ending 12th May 2017 - The Dressing Up Dad by Maudie Smith and Paul Howard (Oxford University Press / Oxford Children's Books)

For our first book of the week this week we feel it's vitally important for children to be able to see themselves in books, but what about dads? Does this dressy fellah feel familiar to you?
"The Dressing Up Dad" (a title which initially grated because I felt that it really should have been called "MY Dressing Up Dad" is the sort of book that has joy flowing from every page. Largely thanks to the titular dad, a happy jolly fellah who comfortably bucks the trend for dads that we really can't stand seeing in books. He's not daft, doesn't fall over a lot, guzzle left over meals - but he loves being silly in a very specific way.

He's not happy being an ordinary everyday dad, and along with his son Danny there's nothing the two of them like better than dressing up.

It's almost time for Danny's birthday and every year Dad and Danny have dressed up for the party's theme. They've been robots and pirates but just once Danny wonders what it would be like if Dad dressed and behaved like his friends' dads. In fact, what if Dad really did behave like an ordinary everyday dad. Sure enough, Dad reluctantly agrees but will Danny really like the end result when party time comes around, this year's theme is to dress up like bugs, but poor Dad is left out?

"The Dressing Up Dad" feels so familiar. Poor Charlotte has had to suffer having a dad very much like the happy go lucky cosplaying fellah in this book and many, many times we've had conversations where she looks at the various dads of her classmates at friend's parties, or at school pick up time and wonders why her dad isn't standing there in a tweed suit or a shirt and tie, or at parties why her dad is the one diving head first into the ball pit or scoffing platefuls of cupcakes while the others politely sip coffee and talk about hugely interesting things like how they're overpaying their mortgages so they can retire early, and how they managed to squeeze an entire day off into their hectic schedules last year.

We like "The Dressing Up Dad" a heck of a lot. I wouldn't quite go as far as to say that I possess his nifty wardrobe or love of dressing up like a giant chicken but I sure do have his sense of what it is to be a fun dad, and I think Charlotte - like Danny - likes me just the way I am, hooray.

Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant - a perfect pressie for an early Father's Day idea too!

Charlotte's favourite bit: She fell completely in love with the dog in this story, who basically steals the show with HIS costumes and dressing up more than the dad does!

Daddy's favourite bit: Ah, perhaps at last the tide is turning - this is the second book we've seen this year with a dad in it that breaks that horrible cliche of the 'dozy children's book dad' who is basically only there to prat-fall or be mocked. Here's a dad who clearly has a vibrant and huge dose of joie de vivre going on and who couldn't love that!

(Kindly supplied for review).

"The Dressing Up Dad" by Maudie Smith and Paul Howard is out now, published by Oxford University Press / Oxford Children's Books