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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Gator Dad, by Brian Lies. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Raincoast. 2016. $25.99 ages 5 and up

"We'll spend some time
going back
and forth
or going up
and down.
I'll help you try to
touch the moon
... and you'll probably
need to rest."

I wish I had told you about this book ahead of Father's Day ... it's not always easy to find a book that is such fun, and such an homage to the dads who spend a great deal of time with their kids. In this one Dad is in charge for the day.

He and the three little ones begin with breakfast. Then, needed errands are run before they head out 'to squeeze the day' in the wild. A rousing play on the seesaw and swings at the park tires Dad, if not the young 'uns. Dad provides for all manner of pretend activities, offering himself up as a raft for meandering and then a tree for climbing. They even get in a little trouble at times.

"With nothing left to do,
we'll splash home
for a change."

A time of excitement while sharing a book is first on the agenda there, before taking the house apart to build a massive fort. The day is filled with fun; then it's time for bed. A dark and stormy night holds no fear when dad is near and ready for another story and a 'squeeze'.

This dad is a master of all things enjoyable and playful. Brian Lies fills his spreads with details that are worth your time and attention. The love that is shared throughout the day is evident in every activity at every moment spent together.

The art design constantly changes. There are spreads and spots, some have white space and others do not.  Soak it all up, and take the time to talk about what listeners are noticing as the pages turn. Lots of heart, a healthy helping of humor and a book that kids will ask for again. Brian Lies was a stay-at-home dad when his daughter was young. He shows us what fun it was for the two of them to spend their days together.

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