Daddy Dressed Me (Michael Gardner & Ava Gardner)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Daddy Dressed Me, written by Michael Gardner and Ava Gardner, and illustrated by Nadia Fisher, a touching dad-and-daughter story about how mutual love and support can inspire us to do our best.

Ava’s dad is incredibly creative and crafty; he makes delicious dinners, paints flowers on her bedroom walls, and made her a shiny crown for her last birthday! But his greatest skill is sewing, and Ava is always excited to show off the stylish dresses he sews for her. One day at school, Ava learns that during the Move Up Day ceremony she will be presenting a piece of poetry – memorized! – and will need to dress to impress. Obviously, Ava turns to her dad, and the two decide on a plan: Daddy will help Ava memorize her poem, and Ava will design and help craft a spectacular dress, one that will give her confidence. Together, this father-daughter duo can’t fail, but can they complete their projects in time?

Heartfelt, warm, and affirming. Based on the real-life Ava and her father Michael, this is a simple tale of familial support and teamwork, as well as parental love. Ava and her daddy share a close bond that many kids and their parents will relate to, and it’s wonderful to see them working together and supporting each other as they each tackle a new challenge. What truly sets this story apart is the way is breaks from traditional gender roles, not only showing a father passionate about traditionally “feminine” hobbies, but also one who is a confident caregiver, and one who is comfortable having flaws or making mistakes. It adds a wonderful layer of depth to Daddy and Ava’s story, and assures readers of all ages that the best way to be a father is to simply show earnest love. The artwork is fine; scenes revolving around the in-progress dress are standouts, but many other scenes are lacking in texture and depth and come off a little flat. Otherwise, the book’s length is great for storytime, and JJ liked it a lot. Overall, we would definitely recommend it, especially for dads and their little ones. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Some Daddies (Carol Gordon Ekster)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Some Daddies written by Carol Gordon Ekster, illustrated by Javiera Mac-lean Álvarez, a diverse and inclusive look at what makes daddies different, and what makes them the same.

There are all different types of daddies! Some are early birds, while some take a while to get going in the morning. Some drink coffee, some drink tea, and some drink neither. Some wear suits, some wear uniforms, and some even go to work in their pajamas! But while there are all types of different ways that daddies can look, eat, play, and be, there’s one thing that all daddies have in common: daddies are special people who love their little ones.

Lovely. There’s always room for stories about parents and families that celebrate the potential diversity of both, and this one does a great job of exploring how each daddy is unique in many ways. While Ekster’s simple text mostly explores how daddies can differ in personality, dress, and interests, Álvarez’s cheerful and colorful illustrations also depict a diversity of skintones, abilities, religious dress, and body types. Especially awesome is that non-traditional family makeup is addressed in both text and artwork, noting that families can have two daddies, or that daddies can be special grownups that a child has picked for themselves. The length is perfect for a storytime, and JJ enjoyed the sweet artwork. Overall, this is a great way to explore the diversity of what it means to be a daddy, and we liked it a lot. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Dad: The Man, The Myth, The Legend (Mifflin Lowe)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Dad: The Man, The Myth, The Legend, written by Mifflin Lowe and illustrated by Dani Torrent, a fun tribute to the unique awesomeness of dads.

A young bespectacled boy welcomes the reader by proudly presenting the one, the only – his Dad! A man of practically supernatural strength, genius intellect, the courage of a lion and a heart of pure gold. He does all manner of incredible things; for instance last week, when he saved the boy from the attack of a massive jungle python (afterwards necessitating the purchase of a new garden hose). He makes the boy’s favorite dinner: spaghetti with M&M’s, chocolate sauce and potato chips (Mom’s on standby with the takeout menu, no reason why). He can even FLY (sure, technically on a trampoline… that he technically broke during his landing). But perhaps best of all, he’s supportive, encouraging, nurturing, and an all-around great dad – and truly, that’s all he needs to be a hero in his son’s eyes.

Very sweet. Beginning with a comedically grandiose version of “superhero” dad, this sweet tale unfolds with humor and fondness, gradually moving past the more er, exaggerated escapades of Dad to the simple and sweet things that show his devotion to his family (a personal favorite was a scene in which the son, devastated by an embarrassingly bad haircut, is cheered up by his father proudly getting a matching one). There are plenty of nudges and winks to adults that make this a great tale for old and young bookworms to share, and the charming mid-century-inspired art is packed with personality. The length was fine for a storytime, and JJ enjoyed the family’s antics. A delightful ode to an everyday superhero, 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.)

Wild About Dads (Diana Murray)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Wild About Dads, written by Diana Murray and illustrated by Amber Alvarez, a sweet celebration of the dads of the animal world.

Dads are great at lots of things: they can help their kids to reach up high, they play games, they carry little ones on piggyback, and so much more! But it’s not only human dads who can do these wonderful things: dads in the animal kingdom do them too! Over a dozen animal dads are shown doing things with their little ones, like sharing snacks (pelicans), fetching dinner (red foxes), and giving a bath (African wild dogs). Bookended with scenes of human dads playing with their kids at a playground tie the theme together: “There’s a lot that dads can do. The best of all is loving you!”

Fun and educational. Young animal enthusiasts will love learning the factoids about the animal dads, explored briefly in the jaunty rhyming text and expanded upon in the endpapers. I especially liked that animals included a few lesser-known creatures; animal-crazy JJ was delighted to learn about Bearded Emperor Tamarins Sandhill Cranes. The artwork is lush, colorful and very cute, drawing the animals with endearing, cartoonish features that make them all look especially cuddly-cute. The length was perfect for any age, and JJ loved it! This would be a great one for dads to share with their own little critters, and we highly recommend it. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Papa Brings Me The World (Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Papa Brings Me The World by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw, a story of a father and daughter and the adventurous spirit they share.

Lu’s Papa is not like other Papas. While some fathers take their car or a bus or a train to work, Lu’s Papa travels much further than most; he is a photojournalist, and travels around the world to take pictures of places and things that most of us have never seen before. When he returns from his journeying, he always brings a gift for Lu, be it a bit of the local currency, a musical instrument, a new pen pal, or even simply his journals, filled with stories and drawings of far-away places. Lu often misses her Papa, especially on special days, but she would never wish him to stop traveling; like her, he has a wanderlust too compelling, and she looks forward to the day they can travel the world together.

Very sweet. This look at a unique father-daughter relationship, based on the author/illustrator’s real-life father, tells a simple yet sweet story that is as much about travel and exploration as it is about family. The treasures and tales that Lu’s father brings her are fascinating; stories about cairns in the Andes and games of “Semut, Orang, Gajah” in Sumatra draw in the reader as much as they do Lu (in fact, a clever illustration reveals how to play “Semut, Orang, Gajah”, letting readers participate in the joy of discovery). The art is rich and textured, and tells as much of the story as the text does with color, pattern, and style. It is a bit lengthy for younger bookworms; JJ was losing focus near the end, though she enjoyed the detailed artwork very much. A tender tale of family that opens up a world of exploration, and we liked it. Baby Bookworm approved.

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