Thursday, May 3, 2018

Ten things we'd like to see dads doing in "Dad Picture Books" for Father's Day - A ReadItTorial

"My Dad" by Anthony Browne. Perfect dad-friendly picture book awesomeness!
We've probably gone through the same thing in the run-up to just about every Father's Day. I don't know what it's like in your house but Father's Day at home is usually fairly normal and standard. Breakfast in bed is a hilarious fantasy. Even wriggling out of the cooking and washing up for the day seems to be a tall order but you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way.

What I would love to see though is a crop of children's books amongst the inevitable deluge of stuff we'll be sent to review that tick ten of our "Let's see Dads doing THIS in a children's book" list.

Let's kick this one off then!

1) Committed and contented dads. You know, we really don't see enough of dads cuddling mums / hubbies, being loved up, even being romantic. Surely that's got to be a positive thing to show off in a children's book? Don't you get smoochy in front of your kids? (True that C finds this absolutely gross and horrifying even if my wife does give me a dry peck on the cheek but loved up dads who truly love their partners in books would be awesome to see more of).

2) Dads being funny. No not prat-fall funny, but funny and genuinely entertaining without being the butt of jokes. In Anthony Browne's characterful "My Dad" you get the perfect example of a dad you could almost know yourselves, he's daft, silly, messes about but he's not an idiot.

3) Dads doing 'different' jobs. Does Dad always have to work at the office? At the construction site? Let's see a few picture books where Dad works in a role that you wouldn't normally associate males with.

4) Dads being creative. Fair enough we do see this from time to time, but not nearly often enough. Whenever you see books encouraging kids to unleash their creative imaginative sides, Dads never seem to be in evidence - in fact trawling back through the blog and looking at nearly all of the make and do / activity books we've reviewed I don't think I recall a single one where dads are leading the charge and showing how to make stuff. Similarly...

5) Dads who cook. Again not as some half-arsed gag about how inept men are at multitasking (ahem, have you ever tried to make a decent fry up or roast dinner? The amount of different things you have to kick off all at the same time AND keep an eye on, it's an art form. Once again, I can't recall more than a tiny handful of children's cookery books written by males. C'mon dads, show us your favourite recipes!

6) Dads pitching in. Positive imagery showing dads taking care of changing nappies and not expecting a round of applause. Dads wearing a baby sling when they're out for the day (I used to do this a lot, it was fine apart from ending up with puddles of drool all down your back from your beloved child as they gurgled happily in their sling).

7) Dads who have an imagination. Again, there aren't nearly enough books where Dad is the one making up the stories, coming up with imagined worlds to explore, scenarios to stimulate a child's play and their own make-believe ideas of how their little worlds should be.

8) Dads who age gracefully. Grandads are dads too, let's see a few less curled up in front of the sport on telly, wearing a flat cap and gumming a ginger biccy dipped in a cuppa - a few more realistic grandads who can more than hold their own when kicking a ball around in the park or riding their bike at top speed around town.

9) Dads who dare. It seems to be a diminishing trend to see books that feature dads as role models. There are quite a few but it feels like dads are sliding backwards as the main influencers on their kids ideals and ambitions. I wonder why that is.

Dads dadding yesterday. "Let me find the person who knitted these cardies!"

10) Dads of all shapes and sizes. Pick up just about any picture book of the last couple of years and take a look at the dad there. Now count on the fingers of one fingers how many you find that aren't illustrated and styled like a 1970s cardigan model. Let's hear it for hairy dads, bald dads, fat dads, skinny dads, spotty dads, snotty dads.