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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

When Dads Don't Grow Up, written by Marjorie Blain Parker and illustrated by R. W. Alley. Dial, Penguin. 2012. $18.00 ages 3 and up

"They know that milk tastes
better through a straw...

that bubble wrap
is for popping....

and that rocks are for throwing
(if there's water around)."

The images are priceless...dads being kids, and kids loving every minute of it! One of the illustrations that accompanies the title page shows a little girl bundled up in coat, ear muffs and mittens handing a hot dog bun to a t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops wearing dad who is roasting hot dogs in the middle of a winter snowstorm. It speaks to the fun you are sure to have when you share this story with a group of preschoolers, your kids at home, or anyone wanting to celebrate a dad, grandad, uncle, or any other man friend who loves living life without growing up.

These dads have no interest in showing the world their sturdy, serious, in-control side. These dads play with the toys from a full meal deal, while straddling a construction girder high above the construction site, or feeding pigeons while waiting for the commuter train to take them to work. They don't wear accepted attire either. They prefer bright colors, and offbeat activities. They stand out from the crowd!

They fill their days with fun and excitement, much to the delight of their children and themselves.
Sometimes they are downright embarrassing, but they don't seem to mind. Their stories at bedtime can be a mishmash of  words, both known and new, that entertain children who are supposed to be settling in for the night.

The four dads pictured have important roles outside the, businessman, construction worker and florist. But, what happens with their children is what matters most...and those kids are LUCKY!

The combination of well-chosen language that encourages laughter and the artist's depiction of men who have not yet given up their childhood will give listeners an opportunity to share their own family stories of happy, crazy times spent with Dad.

"You know who they are."

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