You Be Daddy (Karla Clark)

Hello, friends! Our book today is You Be Daddy, written by Karla Clark and illustrated by Steph Lew, a natural companion title to Clark’s previous book, You Be Mommy.

As with You Be Mommy, a tired parent – a father this time – jokingly mentions how exhausted he is, and makes a request of his youngest child: “Can you be Daddy?”. Gamely, his young song runs his father a bubble bath (with fun bath toys, of course), then builds a bedtime fort for two. As the two prepare for “Daddy’s” bedtime, Dad recounts the busy, taxing day he had: crazy traffic, cooking, cleaning up messes, paying bills, and making time for play. His youngest son is happy to make sure he is tucked in with a cuddly stuffie and a warm nightlight, taking care of dad just the way that dad takes care of him… until the little boy needs to put into his own bed, of course. Then Dad does what dads do, and finds the energy to make sure his kiddo is taken care of.

Very sweet. As with You Be Mommy, the concept of switching the parent-child roles during bedtime is done with humor and affection, creating a playful moments between a fictional father and child that readers can identify with. It also gives young readers a glimpse into all that parents do for their kids during the day, creating empathy for when their own parents might be a little worn out before bedtime. Lew’s illustrations are lovely, giving warmth and charm to the characters with details like the son’s clear love of dinosaurs, as well as visual representations of the family’s Chinese heritage within their home. There are also clues within the artwork that, unlike You Be Mommy, this is a two-parent household; this doesn’t detract from the quality of the story, but does feel like a missed opportunity to represent single fathers, who are a marginalized demographic in kidlit. Otherwise, the length is perfect for a bedtime book, and JJ loved the artwork and gentle story. This would make a great read for any father and child to share, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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