Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day Reads!

Happy Father's Day to all the current, once and future dads in the world! We're celebrating by sharing some picture books from Candlewick that are all about father figures. In today's special reviews, we will share what we love about these fictional dads in particular.

My Dad Thinks He's FunnyTitle: My Dad Thinks He's Funny
Author: Katrina Germein
Illustrator: Tom Jellett
Publisher: Candlewick
Publication Date: April, 2013
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction-Humor/Picture Book
Goodreads Summary: When his son says "I’m hungry," Dad says, "Hello, Hungry. Pleased to meet you." Before slicing a cake for dessert, Dad announces, "There’s my piece. What’s everybody else having?" Tell Dad your foot hurts? "No problem. You’ve got another." How is he feeling? "With my hands." So when nothing’s up but the sky, or when jumping in the shower sounds dangerous, it may be a good time to share this book with someone who doesn’t need sugar because, well, they’re sweet enough already.
What Jen Thinks: This book is so funny, especially thinking about my husband and the funny things he'll say to my own kids. I love how this dad is always aiming to make his kids laugh!
What Kellee Thinks:
This book made me laugh out loud because being cheesy is just one of those things that you hate as a kid, but you remember fondly as an adult. Part of what makes a father a good dad is that they are fun to be around and this corniness is part of the package. This book is also a great book to share to talk about idioms. 

Author: Grahame Baker-Smith
Illustrator: Grahame Baker-Smith
Publisher: Templar
Publication Date: July, 2012
Genre/Format: Fantasy/Picture Book
Goodreads Summary: When a father who dreams of flying goes off to war and does not return, his son decides to make the dream come true. Grahame Baker-Smith’s moving story, with stunning illustrations, shows how, with love and a bit of ambition, you can reach seemingly impossible goals.
What Jen Thinks: I love the connection the boy in this book has with his dad. It's nice to see how they spend time together and how the son follows in his dad's footsteps to a degree.
What Kellee Thinks:
This book is more fantastical than the other three and is a bit more metaphorical. The father was a representation for the boy of what he wanted to become and even when the father gave up, the boy didn't. This book could even be used to discuss loss of a father because there is the vague notion that the father will not return.

The Deer WatchTitle: The Deer Watch
Author: Pat Lowery Collins
Illustrator: David Slonim
Publisher: Candlewick
Publication Date: April, 2013
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Picture Book
Goodreads Summary: A father promises his young son that this summer they will see a deer. They set out over the dunes, through the marsh, and into the woods, searching for a white-flag tail or a set of leaping legs. But deer are hard to find, especially if your feet want to dance and your nose tickles until you sneeze. Squirrels scurry up trees, rabbits leap out of sight, and a pheasant flushes into the sky, but the deer remain hidden until the boy is almost ready to give up and head home. A captivating, lyrical narrative and oil-on-linen landscape illustrations create a sense of quiet suspense as a young boy experiences a sight he will hold in his memory forever.
What Jen Thinks: Sharing moments and firsts with my own kids is so much fun. I like how the dad in this book takes his son out to see a deer almost as a rite of passage. Going out into nature is so much fun.
What Kellee Thinks:
My dad and I used to bike ride all around Davenport Iowa- we saw pheasants and turtles, birds and bugs- every new sighting was a new adventure. And like the son in this book, it is even more special because you are with your dad.

The Matchbox DiaryTitle: The Matchbox Diary
Author: Paul Fleischman
Illustrator: Bagram Ibatoulline
Publisher: Candlewick
Publication Date: March, 2013
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction - Historical Fiction/Picture Book
Goodreads Summary: "Pick whatever you like most. Then I’ll tell you its story." 
When a little girl visits her great-grandfather at his curio-filled home, she chooses an unusual object to learn about: an old cigar box. What she finds inside surprises her: a collection of matchboxes making up her great-grandfather’s diary, harboring objects she can hold in her hand, each one evoking a memory. Together they tell of his journey from Italy to a new country, before he could read and write — the olive pit his mother gave him to suck on when there wasn’t enough food; a bottle cap he saw on his way to the boat; a ticket still retaining the thrill of his first baseball game. With a narrative entirely in dialogue, Paul Fleischman makes immediate the two characters’ foray into the past. With warmth and an uncanny eye for detail, Bagram Ibatoulline gives expressive life to their journey through time — and toward each other.
What Jen Thinks: I like how this great-grandfather uses little trinkets to share his personal history with his great-granddaughter. Sharing stories and learning with each other is such a great family tradition. I love that this great-grandfather spends time to share what was so important to him growing up. 
What Kellee Thinks:
This book reminds me of my grandfather. I love hearing his stories of WWII and other aspects of his past life. What I like about the great-grandfather in this book is that he has made it so that even when he is gone, there will be memories and parts of his life left behind for his children, grandchildren, and so on. I know that learning about my grandfather's legacy is huge for me because I want it to be something that my children know about, and I feel that this same idea of family and legacy rings true in The Matchbox Diaries.

Happy Father's Day!

**Thank you to Candlewick for providing copies of these books for review**

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