Today it’s my stop on the ‘Daddy Hairdo’ blog tour to celebrate the release of this charming and humorous picture book from Francis Martin and Claire Powell. When Amy is born she has hardly any hair, in fact her Dad has much more than her. But as Dad’s hair slowly disappears – to who knows where – Amy’s takes on a life of it’s own and she begins to give Rapunzel a run for her money. The problem is life is quite difficult with extraordinary long hair, you can’t play trick or treat, it gets all sorts tangled up inside it and the only way to dry your hair is on the washing line. Amy is totally fed up until her Dad steps in with the most ingenious hairstyles, which turn them both into an overnight sensation. Francis’s writing is bursting with hairlarious and curltastic details, this story is bound to entertain and engage younger readers. Claire’s glorious illustrations make this book a total joy to read and is guaranteed to leave a smile on your face. I am delighted to welcome Francis to the blog with a special guest post on his favourite Dads in picture books.
My Top Dads in Picture Books – Francis Martin
I don’t know if it’s just my collection of children’s books or if this is a general thing but dads seem to be absent. I suppose the premise of a lot of the stories is freedom from authority. The author creates a space where children are free to play, explore and take risks. A world without Dad.
So my top 5 dads are…
1. The daddy in The Tiger Who Came To Tea: Mr cool and collected isn’t fazed at all by the tiger’s visit, the lack of water or food in the house. He just pops on his hat and they head out into the night. This is my favourite part of the story, he takes Mum and Sophie into a really fantastical world. Suburban London streets on a moon lit night and into a café. This was my childhood idea of a treat. They even have sausages and it always makes me giggle when I see Daddy nestling a crafty pint of beer. What a brilliant Dad he was with that wise serene smile. He turned what was already a pretty extraordinary day into a perfect one.
2. All hail John Burningham’s Dad in Would You Rather. The ultimate embarrassing dad. He only appears for one page waving his hat and dancing in your classroom as all your mates look on. He’s lost in his own world as your world disintegrates. John Burningham’s pictures are the best, wild fluid warm and funny I want to live in his pictures as long as it isn’t my dad dancing.
3. Not strictly a picture book Dad but as I was an expert at pretending to read books whilst I was really reading comics I will include Leo Baxendale’s homage to frustrated authority Minnie the Minx’s poor set upon dad. Context is everything and if this character were around now he would quite rightly be an object of interest to social services. Minnie was a brilliant anarchic role model for girls who were fed up of being compliant goody two shoes. Her dad was her nemesis her foil. If Dad wasn’t there trying to put a stop to her hijinks, Minnie wouldn’t have been the inspirational character that we love.
4. The dad in Michael Rosen’s and Helen Oxenbury’s We’re Going on a Bear Hunt: Dad here is part of the gang. He’s immersed in the children’s imaginary world. The text tells us nothing about him. It’s only Helen Oxenbury’s pictures that reveal something about him. He carries the smallest child and at one point carries the children’s shoes this gives us the most subtle indication that he has a parental role. The nameless Dad does everything thing the children do. He shows me that being a Dad doesn’t preclude you from spending some time in the child’s world of imagination, even if you do have to carry the shoes.
5. The last choice is a picture book about sharing an experience with your Dad. A whole day exploring a city. A Walk in New York by Salvatore Rubbino. Your Dad is your teacher and your guide. He knows everything. The artist paints beautiful dramatic panoramas of New York and New York life but the readers gaze is drawn to the beautifully observed interactions between a father and son. I can identify with the father in this book but my overwhelming feeling is that of being the child.
Thank you to Francis for a lovely guest post, there are some wonderful picture books mentioned.
Why not join in with the rest of the blog tour for more guest posts and reviews.
Thank you to Olivia and Simon and Schuster for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and for sending me a copy of this lovely book. ‘Daddy Hairdo,’ is available to buy now online and from any good bookshop.