During work on the reference desk this week, I discovered a couple picture books that focus on young boys and daddies (I have two young boys so I tend to gravitate toward these, but there are many other books about daddies and daughters–“Baby Dance” by Ann Taylor is one of my favorites).
“Kevin and His Dad” by Irene Smalls and “I Am a Backhoe” by Anna Grossnickle Hines are very different but both reflect a special relationship between father and son by showing favorite activities enjoyed together.
Kevin tells us all about his day with Dad: “On Saturday, with Mom away, Dad and I work–then we play. First we take the vacuum and railroad the rugs- choo, choo, coming through! I love cleaning up with you” They end the day with seeing a movie and getting a snack before walking home, hand in hand.
The illustrations by Michael Hays are colorful and warm, and the text has wonderful rhyming and rhythm- “We clean, clean, clean the clothes. Hurry, hurry, hurry–shake a leg. Last one done is a rotten egg!” This book is great for preschool, kindergarten and beyond.
The second book “I Am a Backhoe” by Hines is also told from the perspective of a little boy, but he is pretending to be various construction vehicles, such as a backhoe, bulldozer and flatbed truck. There are wonderful actions throughout that accompany his pretend play- “I stretch my arms into the sky, way up high. Bend, hook, lift. Swooooshhhh. Swing. Drop. I am…a crane truck”
This book requires active participation between reader and audience as you make the sounds and turn the page to discover which machine the boy is pretending to be. In the final pages, we discover the boy’s father is in the room playing along, reading a truck book with his son. The illustrations, also by Hines, are big, bold, and vibrant. This one is great for phonological awareness and vocabulary with pre-readers, and is perfect for ages 2 and up (a shout-out to my coworker Jenny for showing me this one! Thank you!)