Thursday, June 9, 2016

Let's Celebrate Dads and Grandads! (FAMILY magazine reviews)

         Fathers (and mothers, too!) who read to their children are planting seeds. Reading to a child nurtures attention to sound, pictures, and detail. Reading aloud enlarges vocabulary. It’s difficult to say a word, or read and write it, if you’ve never heard it.
Reading aloud to his own child can also provide Dad with nightly one-on-one time. Time spent in such a meaningful way often becomes an opportunity for conversation and creates an emotional bond. Finally, reading to a child can give Dad a chance to meet again the child he used to be! (Jim Trelease)
            In honor of Dad, take time to read one of these outstanding stories with your child! Happy Father’s Day!

There, There by Sam McBratney 
Illustrated by Ivan Bates
            Hansie Bear, who loves to pretend, repeatedly gets into difficulties. First, when he tries to “walk like a duck,” he hurts his knee when he falls into a deep ditch. Dad comes to help. He bandages the knee, gives Hansie a hug, and says a comforting, “There, there.”
Then, the wind blows sand in Hansie’s eyes while he digs a hole. Dad cuddles him, using the comforting refrain. When Hansie is playing on the swing, he bumps his head hard on a branch. Dad sees what happened. Rubbing Hansie’s head, Dad is there again with the repeated words of comfort.
Later, all the friends have gone home from playing hide-and-seek. Hansie sees his father limping home. Mom comes to help, pulling out the thorn from Dad’s foot. Hansie knows what to do!
Mixed media illustrations in muted colors show a breezy day. Animals with soft, rounded shapes and expressive faces demonstrate curiosity, imagination and caring.
The father is close at hand; hanging clothes on the laundry line, watching from nearby, sharing a hug to reassure Hansie after minor injuries. This adorable story shows a wonderful, nurturing father and son bond.

Candlewick Press, $15.99 
Interest Level: Junior Kindergarten – Grade 2

Druthers by Matt Phelan
            It’s a rainy morning and Penelope is bored. Dad asks her, “If you had your druthers, what would you do?” After Dad’s brief explanation, Penelope cuts loose her imagination: “I would go to the zoo.” Dad plays along by becoming a gorilla on the staircase.
            Her next “druthers” is to be a cowgirl; so they rustle up hats and, using a lasso, wrangle several stuffed animals. When she decides to be a pirate, they sail to the “island of dinosaurs!” Later, they take a rocket ship to the “biggest moon party ever!”
            Ink and watercolor artwork moves from gray to great, mixing up a lively view of a warm, adventurous and loving relationship. Text matches with images, to show daddy and daughter in happy imaginary play. Dad is not only patient: he’s also creative in the use of a wide variety of toys. This increases the merry time together. It’s not surprising that Penelope’s final druthers are that “it would rain tomorrow, too.”

Candlewick Press, $15.99 
Interest Level: Pre-Kindergarten – Kindergarten

Granddaddy’s Turn: A Journey to the Ballot Box 
by Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein 
Illustrated by James E. Ransome
            Michael imitates his granddaddy, and wears a tie for what he thinks, at first, is a trip to the county fair. But Granddaddy explains that he’s going to vote, for the first time. Michael snaps a photo of Granddaddy proudly holding his ballot. But the happiness is quickly over. A deputy requires Granddaddy to read.  Granddaddy cannot. The deputy tears up the ballot. He sends Granddaddy away without voting.
            Vigorous watercolor artwork, by award-winning artist Ransome, shows a farmhouse, landscape and fishing dock washed in sunlit brilliance. Love, patience, and hard work are demonstrated through the thoughtful coupling of text with illustrations. 
            The story skips ahead then, to a grown-up Michael, sitting at a desk, remembering Granddaddy who “passed away before he got a chance to vote.” And finally, on the last double page spread, when Michael puts his own “ballot in the box,” he is carrying the photo of Granddaddy.
            A note at the back supplies context for the historical setting of this stirring tale. It is “based on one family’s experience in the struggle for voting rights” during the segregation era in the South.

Candlewick Press, $16.99 
Interest Level: Grades 1-3

More Terrific Titles to Share:

Superhero Dad by Timothy Knapman 
Illustrated by Joe Berger
Candlewick Press, $15.99
Interest Level: Junior Kindergarten – Grade 2

A Tale of Two Daddies by Vanita Oelschlager 
Illustrations by Kristin Blackwood and Mike Blanc
Vanita Books, $15.95 (hardcover) $8.95 (paperback)
Interest Level: Junior Kindergarten – Grade 1

Always My Dad by Sharon Dennis Wyeth 
Illustrated by Raul Colon
Alfred A. Knopf
Interest Level: Kindergarten – Grade 3

Father’s Rubber Shoes by Yumi Heo
Orchard Books, $14.95 
Interest Level: Grades 1-3


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