June 11, 2014

12 Favorite Kids Books about Fathers

I really like lists. And I really like kids books. Since I did the list of our current favorite spring books, lists have been percolating in my head. Books about mothers. Books about gardens.... And here is a list about fathers in time for Father's Day. (I am sure I am missing some great ones, so feel free to remind me in the comments!)

We Help Daddy by Mini Stein illustrated by Eloise Wilkin

There is nothing deep about this one. I just love the 1950's illustrations and the kids wanting to help and the Dad loving to spend time with his kids

This was going to be me someday, doing lovely, slightly complicated things in the kitchen, while my husband does darling, patient things in the garden with our kids. Somehow we don't manage to be quite so scenic. But my husband does do patient, darling things with our kids.

On a Wintry Morning by Dori Chaconas

One of our all time favorites. I am not sure if it is supposed to be sung, but Clover (who told us about this book or maybe gave it to us) sang it to the tune of All around the mulberry bush and that is what we have always done. My kids love singing books, and this one is just so sweet. A daddy and baby go out exploring on a wintry morning. The words are lyrical (catch a piece of snowy sky; quick-foot, light-foot bunny track), it is rhythmic, has great vintage style pictures and it is about a Daddy loving his baby, ever so. We read/sing this almost every day in Winter. 

Daddy, take the baby out. 
Take your bonny baby out. 
Show the baby all about, 
On a wintry Morning.

Daddy, tie her hat on tight. 
Tie that baby's hat on tight!
The wind will blow with all it's might
On a wintry morning.

Daddy, lift her up so high. 
Sweep that baby up so high! 
Catch a piece of snowy sky, 
On a wintry morning

Daddy, blow upon her toes. 
Warm those tiny tender toes.
Rub her hands and kiss her nose, 
On a wintry morning.

The Milkman by Carol Foskett Cordsen

Product Details

I initially picked this up in a bookstore in Fort Collins, CO in their local section. And I loved the illustrations (I am such a sucker for vintage) and the story, but since I didn't have kids yet and we were living in a trailer, I didn't buy it. Years later, I discovered it at our local library and then had to buy it on Amazon. It is just the story of a milkman making his rounds. Rhyming, good ratio of pictures to words, primary colors--all things to make the kids and I love it. This isn't strictly a book about fathers, but the last two pages make it so. The kids have read it to pieces, so I don't actually have the last pages. But it goes something like

Last stop, best stop.
Cat jumps out. 

Daddy's home!
Comes happy shout.

I just love the father being excited about coming home and the kids being excited to have him home. 

One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey

Product Details

This is a book about a little girl, losing her first tooth, running to find Daddy clamming, and boating to the mainland for a errands and a celebratory ice cream. 

When I was a kid, I thought living on an island in Maine was the penultimate. So I really loved this book.

It is really about family, since the mother is very present too, but I love the girl running to find Daddy and going with him to town. He is a good dad. 

I also just love Robert McCloskey's books and illustrations.

Heading home!

White Dynamite and Curly Kidd by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault, illustrated by Ted Rand

This is a cowboy daddy. Written by the authors of Chicka, Chicka, Boom! Boom!, so there is plenty of rhythm to be had. This is the story off a little kid (turns out to be a girl at the end, ponytails under her hat) talking to her dad before he gets on a bull for his eight second ride. The little kid is nervous, talking a lot. The dad is monosyllabic in answer. While the dad is riding, the little girl tries to think up places she would like to travel to distract her from worrying too much. And then bursts with pride and excitement when he rides the whole eight seconds.

So sweet. Love this one! But then I have a soft spot for cowboy daddies. 

Leapin' like a bullfrog...
O-ma-HA ne-BRAS-ka...
Dustin up the big sky...
KET-chi-KAN a-LAS-ka
Landin' hard...
new MEX-i-CO

Four seconds down, Dad! 
Four more to go!

"You prouded me, Dad. You sure prouded me." Makes me teary eyed every single time I read it. 

"All together, top to bottom, inside out, and outside in, my dad is total perfect."

Daddy's Girl by Garrison Keillor and illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser

We got this at a library book sale a year or so ago. It came with a CD, so we listened to that. We loved it immediately. There are four songs about a Daddy loving his little girl. Very sweet. We often use this for our pick up song CD. It is only about 14 minutes long and they are all bouncy and happy songs. It makes the kids move faster (a little sillier too, which sort of counteracts the fastness, but that's okay) and 14 minutes is a good length of time for the kids to focus on picking up. 

Garrison Keillor has been a part of my life, since my parents would listen to tapes of Lake Woebegone when I was a kid. And Robin Preiss Glasser is the illustrator of Fancy Nancy, so is also familiar. 

All in all, perfectly sweet. 

Wolf Story by William McCleery

Product Details

We have never had this book or even "read" it. But I could recite a lot of it by heart. Mom gave us a tape of this that Livie and Tori listened to as kids. I think she gave it as a loan, which turned into a three year long procession of it by us, with no intention of return it. (Fine, if you want to break your grandson's heart!) The kids all liked this story, but Orianna and Lily now are thoroughly tired of it. Gilbert loves this story. He listens to it at night several times a week and sometimes during the day if he lays down for a nap. 

It is the story of a father telling his son a bedtime story. The son (Michael) helps the father decide what the story will be about, what the plot will be, what happens when. This is all spread out over several weeks, with the father taking the boy on excursions (with Stefan, the next door neighbor boy) to the beach, the park, across the Queensborough bridge, etc. It is around 1950 in New York City. It is a short-ish chapter book. Takes about an hour for the tape to play out I believe.

A great story about a Dad and son. 

And now some chapter books that aren't strictly about Dad's, but that have pretty great Dads or only Dads (no mother).

Bo at Ballard Creek by Kirkpartrick Hill

Product Details

A prostitute gives away her daughter in a closing Alaska boom town and two miner friends take her in and raise her. Love this story! Loved the illustrations, how gentle these big old miners were with this tiny baby and growing girl, and love Alaska.

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

Was just listening to Charlotte's Web last night and Fern's father struck me as pretty understanding and kind. Letting her keep Wilbur instead of killing him, telling her mother that Fern has a great imagination and not to worry in the least about her talking about the animals talking...

A side note, I love this story. It gets funnier it seems every time we listen to it. E.B. White reads it, in his Maine accent, which gives the classic words that final touch of greatness.

Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene

Product Details

I mean, seriously, what other father would let you go helter-skelter into danger in the pursuit of your detective talents and then continually rescue you at the last minute? Pretty great.

The Melendy Quartet by Elizabeth Enright

Product Details

This takes place in World War II and the father is often off on some important government business, but these kids love their Dad something fierce and their Dad loves them totally too.

Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan

Product Details

After their mother dies, they get along with just their Dad for awhile, but then learn to live with the semi-mail order bride (they wrote letters for awhile, but had never met) their father brings west to be a mother to them. 

Beany Malone Books by Lenora Mattingly Weber
Meet the Malones

This lovely family in Denver in the late 1940's is motherless and occasionally fatherless, since their father is a journalist who is often heading off on stories. Eventually he brings home a wife and they all have to adjust. Great series in general.


The McCoys said...

Wonderful list!! Most I know.. some I don't - might have to go check Amazon :)

Geri Douglas said...

it makes me wish I was back home reading to my grandkids I love these adorable books! thanks Bet you are a sweet mother and wife

Jolene Crites said...

This is SO SWEET! Many of these we love too. But my kids are beyond kids' books now - boo! It never ceases to amaze me how the adults love and cherish these books even more than the kids - get ready for it. That first time they say they don't remember a book you read them thousands of times is a little crushing...