A Father’s Love, by Hannah Holt; illustrated by Yee Von Chan (Philomel Books)
Animal dads, along with a few human ones, care for their young in specific ways in this rhyming picture book. Kids can spot familiar creatures like a lion and sea horse, and see lesser-known ones, like a pygmy marmoset and emu. Comforting rhymes make this ideal for snuggling while reading aloud: “In swirling clouds of FROSTY WHITE, a penguin snuggles baby tight./He fluffs his down from head to toe./This father’s love is soft as snow.”
Dandy, by Ame Dyckman; illustrated by Charles Santoso (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
It’s dad-vs.-dandelion in this heartwarming and hilarious book. Daddy — just like his neighbors — prides himself on a perfect, weed-free lawn. When he spies a lone dandelion, he’s horrified. He tries to snip it, but his daughter, Sweetie, spots it first. She declares it her “best friend” and names it Charlotte. Daddy tries to get rid of it — even with a jackhammer and cannon — but Sweetie keeps showing up, delighted to be near Charlotte. The neighbors aren’t pleased, and Daddy grows more determined. In the end, though, he not only discovers what’s really important but also becomes a hero to Sweetie.
Raj and the Best Day Ever, by Sebastien Braun (Templar Books)
Raj and his dad have planned the perfect day; they’ll go to the library, visit a farm, look at boats and more. They pack up, and they’re off! But at the library, Dad can’t find his wallet, so Raj can’t check out his favorite book; nor can they do anything else on their list. Raj predicts it will be the “WORST DAY EVER.” But, Raj and his dad get creative, finding ways to still fulfill the list. The father and son demonstrate resourcefulness, as well as the joy of each other’s company.
My Papi Has a Motorcycle, by Isabel Quintero; illustrated by Zeke Peña (Kokila)
Daisy can’t wait for her dad to come home from work each day. It’s then that the two hop onto his motorcycle and explore their city. “His hands are rough from building homes every day — his job since he first arrived in this country. But even though he comes home tired he always has time for me.” She holds on tightly to her dad, as they cruise through their neighborhood — past the store where Mami buys her treats; Mr. Garcia, their librarian; murals; friends playing soccer; and her abuelito and abuelita’s house. The detailed, evocative watercolor artwork and smoothly told story demonstrate the pair’s love for their neighborhood and each other.
Daddy-Sitting, by Eve Coy (Clarion Books)
A little girl prepares to spend the day with her dad — with her in charge. “He likes to get up early …” she says, as he tries to get in a few more winks. She says, “I get him ready,” handing him her own shirt to wear. She makes his “favorite breakfast” — and pours milk outside his cereal bowl. Then it’s off to grocery shopping, playing on the swings, and swimming — everyday activities made more fun because the two experience them together.
You Made Me a Dad, by Laurenne Sala; illustrated by Mike Malbrough (HarperCollins)
A new dad, after happily anticipating the birth of his child, reveals how he’ll be the best father he can be: “I promise to always be lovey and laughy with you./To teach you big words even if you can’t pronounce them. To throw you up HIGH in the air but never ever drop you.” Sweet scenes show the father enjoying moments with his daughter as she grows into a youngster.
Papa Put a Man on the Moon, by Kristy Dempsey; illustrated by Sarah Green (Dial Books for Young Readers)
Marthanne is excited about astronauts preparing to reach the moon for the first time. But she’s even prouder of her father, who has contributed to the event through his work: He works at a textile mill, where he weaves a fabric used in the astronauts’ suits. Her dad downplays it, but she knows her father is part of something big. The two playfully incorporate their excitement into their daily lives: “When it’s time for bed, Papa takes my toothbrush and bobbles it just out of reach, pretending it’s twirling through zero gravity like we saw the Apollo astronauts do on TV.”
Is That Your Dad? illustrated by Carles Ballesteros (Abrams Appleseed)
Share some silliness with this interactive board book. On each of the left-side pages, a narrator asks a little frog, “Is that your dad, Froggy?” The facing pages feature an animal who surely is not his dad: a lion, monkey, parrot and bear. When the reader turns the page, the animal’s facial expression changes via vertical cutouts. Each time, the frog says the animal is not his dad. By the end, he happily finds him. This short, yet fun book brings out the giggles.
Mia Geiger is a writer in the Philadelphia area. Follow her on Twitter @MiaGeiger.