My son’s recently gotten into the series of books on Alfie, by Shirley Hughes. They’re great because they show little boys doing silly little boy things, like pushing their friends, or locking their parents out of the house, but they’re not preachy and no one receives a comeuppance. Instead, the grown ups just tell the kids, with an almost audible sigh, to stop fooling around.
Apparently in some of the books Alfie has a dad, but not in the two we have. There’s no sign or mention of a father being in Alfie’s life. And the thing is, that’s not uncommon in kids’ books.
Like, why is there no mention of a dad in the Toy Story movies? There are plenty of other stories that my son has been obsessed with and insisted we read again and again that have been completely mom-centric. Llama Llama Red Pajama and Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed come to mind, both stories where mom is putting the kids to bed alone, with not a word about dad. Classic picture books like The Runaway Bunny or Where The Wild Things Are also join the list, though perhaps less surprisingly, since these books came from a time when moms bore the brunt of childcare duties.
An article on The Good Men project that talked about the book Oh, Oh Baby Boy, a picture book about a dad taking care of a child, got me wondering — where are the great dads in picture book literature? The dads who really parent, make decisions, share advice, express care and love, and hopefully even do some chores. If you have an awesome dad (or two!) in your house who contribute to the childcare then here are some books you need to check out. Perhaps you can think of others? If so, please leave them in the comments section!