Tonight, in honor of Father’s Day, I did books about Dads.
It was an interesting storytime for me, because there was a tremendous range of ages–from babies to grade school. I skewed the books a bit younger, to hold the attention of the youngest ones, hopefully without losing the older guys, but I tried to throw a couple of longer books in too.
Higher! Higher! by Leslie Patricelli
Leslie Patricelli is one of my favorite authors for babies and toddlers. My kids own several of her board books, and they never seem to tire of Yummy, Yucky. This book has literally only a handful of words, but engages kids of all ages because of the bright, colorful, wacky illustrations. A girl begs her Daddy to push her “Higher! Higher!” in the swing at the park, until she is swinging above skyscrapers, mountain peaks, the planet earth, outer space, and finally meets an adorable green alien on a swing of its own, before coming back down to earth.
Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein
One of my new favorite books to read aloud, especially because I get to trot out (or unearth–I grew up in Georgia) various southern accents. A tired rooster is reading stories to his daughter, who promises not to interrupt, but she just can’t resist helping out characters like Hansel and Gretel (“Don’t go in! She’s a witch!”) and Chicken Little (“Don’t panic! It was just an acorn!”) This is a longish book, but even the littlest guys hung in there because it’s such a fun story.
Just Like Daddy by Frank Asch
A really simple, older book for toddlers. A little bear describes all the things he does “just like Daddy”: yawning, getting dressed, eating breakfast, picking a flower for his mom. The whole family goes fishing, and he catches a big fish, “just like Mommy.” The Moms in the crowd enjoyed this one.
Oh, Daddy! by Bob Shea
A newer toddler book, and another one that works for multiple age groups. A little hippo explains all the ways he has to help his Dad, who can’t seem to figure out how to do the simplest tasks like getting dressed, getting in the car, and eating dinner. The subtext, which the older kids and parents pick up on, is that the Dad is feigning ignorance in order to get his son to do all of these things. The kids laughed at this one.
If My Dad Were a Dog by Annabel Tellis
Silly rhyming book where a child imagines all the things she would do with her Dad if he could be a dog for a day. The illustrations mix photos of a big black lab with brightly colored drawings, and it includes (yes) dog poo and “sprinkling the flowers.” This author clearly knows the preschool audience.
Two Little Blackbirds (the kids love this song, especially the quiet/loud and early/late verses)
Two little blackbirds sitting on a hill (hold up two thumbs)
One named Jack and the other named Jill.
Fly away Jack (put one thumb behind back), fly away Jill (put other thumb behind back).
Come back, Jack (bring thumb out in front), come back, Jill (bring other thumb out in front).
Two little blackbirds sitting on a cloud, One was quiet (whisper), and the other was loud (yell)…
Two little blackbirds sitting in the snow, One was fast and the other w…a…s…s…l…o…w…
Two little blackbirds sitting on a gate, One was early, and the other was… (pause)…late….
1,2,3,4,5, I Caught a Fish Alive
I caught a fish alive.
I let him go, and it bit my toe–OUCH!
(This is a catchy rhyme I got from my friend Barbara B. The kids love squishing their cheeks in at the end).
The hip-the hip-the hippopotamus! (pat rhythm on your legs)
Got on, got on, got on the city bus.
And all, and all, and all the people said,
“You’re squishing us! (squish your cheeks together with your hands)
INSTRUMENT PLAY WITH A CD: Little Red Caboose by Sweet Honey in the Rock from 20 Great Kids Songs
CRAFT TIME: ALL ABOUT MY DADDY (Click on the link for printable template)
One of my favorite Mother’s Day gifts was a simple questionnaire my daughter filled out at preschool, where her teacher asked her questions like “How old is your Mommy?” My daughter hazarded a guess, and said, “4.” (A few weeks later she asked me, very shyly, “Are you 4?”)
I made a similar questionnaire for Father’s Day, based on some I found online, and included a box for the kids to draw pictures of their dads. (I was prepared to make an alternative form if anyone wanted to make it about another family member or a friend). When I brought one home for my daughter to fill out, I learned that she thinks her Daddy is the worldly age of 10!
These books were recommended by my friend Shelley, a children’s librarian in the UK:
My Daddy is a Giant by Carl Norac (I’m not familiar with this one, but it looks wonderful, and it has been printed in lots of different languages. Our library system has bilingual copies in both Hindi and Chinese).
We Help Daddy by Mini Stein (A Little Golden Book, which is unfortunately out of print and not in our library system, but available used from some dealers on Amazon).
And here’s a book I didn’t get to read at storytime, but enjoyed reading with my daughter:
Giddy-up, Daddy by Troy Cummings (incredibly wacky story about a Dad who is so exceptional at giving horseback rides that he is kidnapped by horse rustlers who want to enter him in their rodeo).
Also, I could do a list of favorite Dad stories without including Knuffle Bunny: a Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems, a book which captures perfectly the drama of searching for a missing favorite toy.