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19 Aug, Friday
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Montreal Families

Books that help kids bond with dad

Father’s Day does not need to be the commercial holiday that the greeting card companies make it out to be. If anything, it should be taken as a day to celebrate the many pleasures of fatherhood, including activities like reading with the kids. This Father’s Day, why not choose books that focus on the special bond that exists between a father and his children?

Here are a few suggestions that will give dads and their children some quality time together and, in the process create memories that will be worth much more than any expensive gift.

If my dad were a dog by Annabel TellisIf My Dad Were a Dog (Scholastic, $20.99)
 by Annabel Tellis (Ages 3 and up)
This quirky book combines photographs and colourful illustrations to bring to life a boy’s speculation of what it would be like to have a dad who is a dog. A big chocolate Labrador is given dad-like features, including painted on glasses and a tie to resemble a real father, except his big jowls hang foolishly, making him an absurd and humouristic vision of a dad as a dog. In rhyming verse, the boy imagines the fun he and his dog dad could have. Together they could play in the park, he could make his dad do doggie tricks and make him listen to orders. But is a dog dad as good as a real dad?

Papa, do you love me? by Barbara JoosePapa, Do You Love Me? (Raincoast Books, $17.95)
 by Barbara Joose (Ages 4 and up)
In this storybook, set in the Serengeti plains of Tanzania and Kenya, a young boy challenges his father’s love with a series of questions and scenarios. Worried about being abandoned, the boy wants to know how his father will protect him from the heat and drought. The book shows how children, across different cultures and worlds, experience similar doubts and insecurities. The book will not only transmit to children that it is normal to have those feelings, but by reading the book with their father, it will reassure them that they can put those worries aside.

My father's dragon by ruth giles gannettMy Father’s Dragon (Yearling, $9.99)
 by Ruth Giles Gannett (Ages 6 and up)
This is exactly the kind of book that a father and child should read together. A young boy narrates this tale about his father’s fantastical journey as a young person, to an island where he saves an overworked dragon. Children love to hear stories about the childhood of their parents and this book indulges that innate curiosity. The book is divided into chapters, which means that it can be read over several days, creating a fun daily ritual. With large type, black and white illustrations and short chapters, the book is well designed for early readers.

The Giggler TreatmentThe Giggler Treatment (Scho-lastic, $7.99)
 by Roddy Doyle (Ages 8 and up)
Written by Irish author Roddy Doyle, best known for his adult books, this book will have dad and child giggling over and over again. This all-round silly book has as its premise that adults who are mean to children are subjected to the giggler treatment, where little devilish imps sabotage the adults by placing dog poo in their path. Kids will love the idea of parents being punished for unfair rules and will appreciate the clever role-reversal that puts the children in the hero seat where they must save their parent.

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