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Sunday, July 31, 2016

MY DAD Used to Be so Cool, written and illustrated by Keith Negley. Flying Eye Books, Publishers Group Canada. 2016. $24.95 ages 6 and up

"My dad used to be so cool!

It's hard to imagine,
he's always so serious.

My dad having fun?

I wish I could have seen it.

I bet he had a blast!"

Don't we all want our kids to think we're cool? I, at times, harbor the thought that I still am. Do you?

This young boy is convinced that his dad was, at one time, a music idol. When we meet him, he is folding clothes while his son sleeps peacefully close by. The son, it must be said, is pretending while taking a knowing, careful look at his dad.

The evidence speaks for itself, doesn't it? There is a drum kit in the front closet, his arms are tattooed from top to bottom, a skateboard adorns one wall. The reality of his present life is shown in the laundry folding, the vacuuming, the neat office, the many things he does to make the boy's life easier and better. What happened to the hog he used to ride? When did he succumb to the lure of an SUV?

The boy wonders what might have happened for his dad to have given up his rock star ways as the two head to the park for a day of play. I wonder too, don't you?

I love the graphic images that juxtapose, from page to page, what Dad used to do with what he is doing now. There is evidence throughout their home that the past may have been quite different from the present. Perceptive watchers and older readers will 'get' it. Little ones will simply enjoy the chance to tease their dads about not being cool in any way at all.

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