Skip to content

What Makes Your Dad Happy?

What Makes My Dad Happy cover dad playing with childWHAT MAKES MY DAD HAPPY is a charming children’s book written by Tania Cox with illustrations by Lorette Broekstra from Allen & Unwin. Distributed in the U.S. by Trafalgar Square Publishing from IPG,  $11.99, Ages 3-5), this 24-page book will appeal to a broad audience since the dads depicted are from a wide range of ethnicities and abilities. I love that in addition to several Caucasian dads, a father in a wheelchair is shown along with an African-American dad, an older dad, and an Asian dad. Best of all, they’re having lots of fun and smiling loving smiles while interacting with their children.

Whether talking on the phone together, cooking, dancing, building, or playing in the park, dads are simply happy making memories while spending quality time with their kids. And kids just love making their daddies happy with all kinds of surprises. Presented in easy-to-read rhyme with a catchy refrain, “That’s what makes my dad happy, that’s what makes my dad happy,” the book is ideal for reading aloud. Celebrate those special daddy and daughter or son moments by making time to read together and reflect on the different relationships What Makes My Dad Happy conveys.  Plus, giving this book as a gift not just on Father’s Day, but year-round, is certain to make any dad very, very happy!

  • Reviewed by Ronna Mandel
Share this:

Of Dads and Dinosaurs

ADD2We’re celebrating fathers this month as Father’s Day is right around the corner.  Are Dinosaurs Dead, Dad? ($16.95, Peachtree Publishing, Ages 3-7) by Julie Middleton is the perfect picture book for young children to read with their dads. It’s cute, it’s clever and it’ll teach you a thing or two about prehistoric creatures.

Are Dinosaurs Dead, Dad? is a story about a boy named Dave, who goes to a museum with his Dad to see a dinosaur exhibit. “Are the dinosaurs dead, Dad?” is the first of many questions Dave asks his father.

“Dead?” Dad said. “Yes, the dinosaurs are dead.

But as father and son tour the museum, young Dave is sure the dinosaurs are trying to communicate with him despite Dad’s assurances over and over again that it’s not possible.

Or is it?

What I enjoyed about this simple picture book is that it’s a heck of a lot of fun to read and is educational. I absolutely love the big, vibrant illustrations by Russell Ayto and the whimsical font which makes the book look like it was handwritten. You’ll be hard pressed to find a kindergartener  or first grader who isn’t fascinated by dinosaurs; these extinct animals were really extraordinary. Besides, what better way is there to celebrate dad, and all of his expertise, than reading an especially fun book like this with him?

For another cute book about dads, check out this review of My Dad Thinks He’s Funny.

– Reviewed by Debbie Glade

Share this:

Happy Father’s Day!

9781402242397I so enjoyed My Dad, My Hero because it reminded me of my father. While not a DYI guy or very sporty, like the father in this book, my dad would always make time for his children and he’d go to the ends of the earth for me or my brother (though not using super powers and surely in nothing too clingy). We cherished that love and devotion, and although he’s now retired and on the other side of the country, he’d still be here in a heartbeat if I needed him, and that’s why he’ll always be my hero. Click here to download a My Dad, My Hero Father’s Day card today!


Ethan Long, writer and illustrator of My Dad, My Hero ($12.99, Sourcebooks, ages 1-8) has created the ideal Father’s Day book. With whimsical and colorful artwork along with simply structured sentences, this picture book manages to humorously portray a son’s love for his father who is less than perfect. And while “He can not fly,” and is surely no superhero, his father always “spends a lot of time” with his son and that’s one powerful quality.

Share this:

Daddy Dearest

In honor of my fantastic father and fathers ’round the world, I’ve devoted this post to a collection of my favorite new Dad-themed books. There’s one for every day of the week.

9780061730801Oh, Daddy! by Bob Shea (HarperCollins Children’s Books, $16.99, ages 3-6))

Daddy is just too darn funny and goofy, too! That’s what makes him so special. Whether it’s getting dressed in the morning, eating lunch or just watering the plants, doing stuff with daddy is always better than doing it alone.

9780811869584_normHandy Dad: 25 Awesome Projects for Dads and Kids by Todd Davis (Chronicle Books with photographs by Juli Stewart and illustrations by Nik Shulz)

Kids and dads will love this book filled with projects that combine craftsmanship, fun and the right amount of DIY for just about every skill level. I know I’m getting my hubby to make the Lion-Main Tire Swing, but some dads and kids may prefer to spend together time constructing the Stunt Dummy/Abominable Snowman, The Half-Pipe or Slingshot. It’s all here and it will keep the entire family entertained for hours, first building then playing!

Directions are straightforward and there’s a list of materials and tools needed for every project included. I really liked how the projects were even broken down into Easy, Afternoon and Weekend categories so you know what you’re getting into before starting out. There’s even a section on Knots, Resources and of course an Index. See you on the swing!

catalog_coverDaddy Calls Me Doodlebug by J. D. Lester with illustrations by Hiroe Nakata (Robin Corey Books/Random House Children’s Books, $7.99 ages 1-4)

Here’s a delightful board book for youngsters that deftly mixes playtime in rhyme for daddy and baby (animals included) with silly nicknames and rich artwork so anytime becomes a good time.

Daddy calls me Shoo-Be-Doo, we sing an ocean song.

Daddy calls me Mini-Me…we’re swinging right along!

0763633798medDad and Pop: An Ode to Fathers & Stepfathers by Kelly Bennett with illustrations by Paul Meisel (Candlewick Press, $15.99, ages 4-7)

If you’re a member of a blended family or even if you’re not, no matter what you call your dad, and stepdad, be it father, pop or daddy, what counts is not the differences, but being loved. This beautiful yet simply illustrated book
celebrates what makes fathers and stepfathers unique and presents a pleasing and important new perspective for kids.

cover comp4.inddYour Daddy Was Just Like You
by Kelly Bennett with illustrations by David Walker (G.P. Putnam’s Sons/Penguin Young Readers Group, $16.99, ages 3-5)

My son loves to visit my husband’s family home and explore his father’s childhood bedroom for clues into his dad’s mysterious, long ago childhood. Did he get up to no good? Did he have hobbies or any collections? Did he avoid taking baths like the plague? Find out how one little boy explores his daddy’s past by asking lots of questions to learn more about the little boy he is today.

9780810983922_3dBecause I Am Your Daddy by Sherry North with illustrations by Marcellus Hall (Abrams Books for Young Readers, $15.95, ages 4-8 )

In gentle rhyme, North takes readers on a journey in airplanes, to baseball stadiums, on dinosaur digs, marching in parades and more to explore the breadth and depth of a dad’s love for his child. How refreshing to have a dad share his point of view. The retro-looking illustrations complement the verse and convey the upbeat spirit of this story

If I were a director, I would cast you as my star.

Your face would light up movie screens in cities near and far.

0310712157Let’s Have a Daddy Day by Karen Kingsbury with illustrations by Dan Andreasen (Zonderkidz, $15.99, ages 4-7)

Any day can be a Daddy Day as long as you’re together having fun. Build a fort in that old backyard tree or search for tadpoles in the pond, head outside to enjoy nature, play an impromptu game or just get hugs…Daddy loves to spend time with the kids he loves and the smiles on his children’s faces say WE LOVE DAD, TOO!

Share this:

Dedicated to Dads & Daughters

just-dad-meJust Dad and Me, (edited by Erin Falligant with illustrations by Stacy Peterson, $10.95,, ages 8 and up)
I love a book that encourages daddies and daughters to bond, like this interactive book, appropriately sub-titled “The fill-in, tear-out, fold-up book of fun for girls and their dads.” It boasts a page with coupons redeemable for things like “a silly face to make you smile,” a chart where daughter and dad can list their favorite season, sports team, band, etc., and a “Trading Places” section. Here’s a chance to interview Dad about the kind of boy he was growing up, and for his daughter to imagine what she will be like when she’s a grown-up. There are instructions for painting on rocks, making paper helicopters, writing poems, even a push-out backboard for a game of waste basket hoops, but my favorite has to be “Make a Pact,” which father and daughter fill in and affix to the fridge as a reminder to spend more “together” time every month.

nfldads_300NFL Dads Dedicated to Daughters: Inspiring Personal Accounts of Fatherhood from the Men of the NFL, (edited by Leslie Satchell (Triumph Books,, $24.95)
I bet when you think of an NFL football player you think of eye black, heavy padding and mouth guards, but what about the softer side of these athletes, the more sensitive daddy side?

Here’s a collection of insights on fatherhood from over 70 NFL players including Donovan McNabb, Torry Holt and Matt Hasselbeck. These “heartfelt words” will shed light on the more playful, nurturing side of these gridiron action men along with their interpretations on what it means to be a man and role model in society today.. The charming photos that accompany each essay only add to the beauty of the overall message of love and caring conveyed by these professional athletes. Players’ thoughts about preventing domestic violence and empowering women makes this a most meaningful book to share with girls .

Brian Waters, Kansas City Chiefs: Offensive Guard
“My relationship with my daughters is so special. Their tenderness awakened a different side of me.”

Tony Gonzales, Atlanta Falcons: Tight End – “Honoring commitment and demonstrating healthy love and affection between a man and a woman will be more powerful than just lecturing young people.”

Share this:

Happy Father’s Day!

I love Father’s Day because it gives me a chance to celebrate my one-in-a-million dad and let him know how much he means to me. When I was in college and a friend backed out of our Spring Break plans despite my having booked tickets to Florida, it was my dad who went along with me! When friends visited me from abroad and I was still living at home, it was my dad who chauffeured them around Manhattan giving the sightseeing tour. He’s always been there for me, been my number one fan and in return, I am his.

When looking for something this Father’s Day to celebrate
that special Dad you know, consider these books.

9781599620671We wish we knew an expecting or new Dad so we could give him the The Little Big Book For Dads from Welcome Books this Father’s Day because it’s one of those “must have” books a parent will return to again and again. Mothers, too, will enjoy the colossal content which ranges from nursery rhymes, activities, songs, fairy tales, poetry (Edward Lear’s An Alphabet is a personal favorite in our house), essays (offered by dads from Bill Cosby to Kenny Loggins), recipes, tongue twisters and jokes. The endearing artwork of such notables as Kate Greenaway and Jessie Wilcox Smith recalls a bygone era when bonding time with Dad was as simple as flying a kite

5815-1m-lowKlutz’s Build-a-Book is a complete book-building kit and for this Father’s Day there’s the convenient Why I love My Dad – By Me for your child to design. Recommended for ages 6 and up, the book contains 10 colorful pages, mostly blank, so kids can let their creativity flow. Included are double-side custom papers, chipboard letters, glue, double-tipped black marker, googly eyes and assorted cool foam shapes to help make the finished product unique and memorable. There’s also lots of neat ideas and helpful hints to inspire them. My kids were always making books when they were little, but finding all the right bits and pieces was our biggest challenge. Build-a-Book just gives them the perfect head start. Simply supply some scissors, a snack and disappear.

9780545134026_xlgScholastic’s Things To Do With Dad by Chris Stevens and illustrated by A.J. Garces (with additional illustrations by David Woodroffe) guarantees a good time will be had by all. Filled with indoor and outdoor activities kids can enjoy together with Dad, the book provides details on how to catch a shadow, have a thumb wrestling contest, throw a car wash party and even turn your kitchen into Dad’s diner (I’m sure Mom will love that one!). And in case you needed more suggestions, Things To Do With Dad has at least 50 others to try out. I liked the idea of creating a crazy golf course and I am definitely going to get my husband to make the paper helicopters with Coleman.

612n-znoelsx156Bertie: Just Like Daddy by Marcus Pfister (of Rainbow Fish fame) from North-South Books is a spot-on story of a little hippo who wants to do everything his daddy does whether it’s drinking coffee, shaving, having a credit card or skipping a nap. Daddy somehow has all the right answers. Daddy replies “When you’re bigger,” and Bertie seems content with his father’s suggestions of drinking the foam, wearing some shaving cream or holding the receipt. It’s not until Bertie’s up from his nap, eager to now play trains and Daddy’s asking if he can be kid that the tables are turned in delightful way. Perfect for toddlers, Pfister’s latest Bertie book is sure to please with its tropical looking wallpapers and backgrounds of vibrant colors along with vividly drawn characters.

1360808The black and white photographs as well as the color ones shout LIFE Magazine which is why I love the new LIFE with Father published by Time Inc. Home Entertainment. At $17.95 this book makes a wonderful and meaningful gift to present to Dad this Father’s Day. Of course there are celebrity dads likes Charlton Heston, Kirk Douglas and Nat “King” Cole and ordinary dads, but all are portrayed lovingly with their children and as one quote says, “Even a famous father is simply Dad to his kids.” Any LIFE collection would not be complete without touching pictures of JFK or RFK, and the accompanying quotes on most pages only serve to add to the warmth of this tribute to fathers around the world. A beautiful shot of President Barack Obama having a quiet moment with daughter Malia ends the book with a fitting quote, “I’m inspired by my own children, how full they make my heart…They make me want to be a better man.”

Share this:
Back To Top