With Father’s Day approaching, you’ll find lots of Dad-themed picture books in shops, ideal for family reading or to wrap up as a gift for Dad himself.
Share some reading time together and celebrate the special place dads have in their kids’ lives. Enjoy a laugh, or a hug, or both. Here’s our round-up of just some of the many books available.
Click on the titles or cover images below for more information about each book.
3 PERENNIAL FAVOURITES
I Love My Daddy by Giles Andreae and Emma Dodd
Written in bouncy, rhyming text, this book gives a toddler’s-eye-view of everything that’s wonderful about daddies. Very cute, with bold illustrations in strong colours.
Kisses for Daddy by Frances Watts and David Legge
This book has adorable illustrations and repeated text which kids will enjoy chanting along to. Baby Bear doesn’t want to go to bed, and he doesn’t want a kiss goodnight. So his dad tries offering all different kinds of kisses: a bear kiss, a giraffe kiss, a mouse kiss… Affectionate and great fun.
Why I Love My Daddy by Daniel Howarth
This sweet book features simple statements from real children (I love my daddy because he carries me, because he hugs me goodnight, because he tickles me), accompanied by animal illustrations. On the back page there’s a frame where a child can put a photo of themselves and their own dad.
2 THAT MAKE US LAUGH
My Dad Thinks He’s Funny by Katrina Germein and Tom Jellett
This one is a celebration of the Dad Joke: all those little quips dads come out with, which make their kids roll their eyes (but will be remembered with affection years later). Clever and warm, and features a fabulous illustration of that eye roll!
My Dad’s the Coolest by Rosie Smith and Bruce Whatley
It’s hard to resist the illustration of father and child polar bears in sunglasses on the front cover of this one. This book also uses the model of simple statements about dads (teaches me to dig, is fun), illustrating them with bold pictures of animals. A celebration of fun!
4 RECENT RELEASES
Time for Bed, Daddy by Dave Hackett
This one turns the bedtime ritual on its head with a story about a curly-haired little girl trying to put Daddy to bed. We were charmed by the title-page illustration of Daddy in his stripey pyjamas, curling up his toes, and not looking in the least bit sleepy.
This is both funny and affectionate and was written and illustrated in characterful, friendly cartoon-style by Dave Hackett, a regular cartoonist on children’s TV. Dave has three kids and we suspect this is very much based on experience!
My Dad is a Giraffe by Stephen Michael King
The sweet whimsy of the illustration on this book’s front cover, showing a small girl on a ladder hugging a contented-looking giraffe, made us smile and sigh a little.
Is your dad big and tall, gentle and fun? Can you climb up his legs, over his head, slide down his neck and ride on his back? Maybe your dad is a giraffe!
This story plays with the imagination, as a little girl introduces us to her dad (a giraffe) and mum (a zebra), and we see fantastical scenes such as the giraffe driving a red car past an art gallery. Yet all the statements are authentically childlike and ring with warmth: ‘My dad protects me, listens to my fears and helps me feel brave.’ Oh, and there are hints in the first and final illustrations that Dad is not really a giraffe …
Adventures with Daddy by Cathy Kearse and Gabriella Klepatski
This book was first published in New Zealand. It’s a rhyming story, which is lots of fun to read aloud as it takes us through all the events in a day which a dad and toddler spend together. The illustrations give us hints about the different realities of little one’s day compared to Daddy’s day: one is eating the paint while the other is creating a ‘masterpiece’; one is painstakingly building sandcastles, while the other is playing a game of stomping. And of course it finishes – like any good day – with a peaceful bedtime (for one of them).
My Pop is a Pirate by Damon Young and Peter Carnavas
And not forgetting grandfathers!
From the creators of My Nanna is a Ninja, this playful and energetic book celebrates some (very) different modern granddads whose hobbies range from rally car driving to parachuting, and tastes in food from turkey and coleslaw to salads with chickpeas. But what if your pop was really different? What if he was a pirate?
Please tell us your favourite dad story, in comments below. If you like this list, please consider sharing it using the social buttons. And if you’d like to stay in touch with more Better Reading stories, please sign up for our email newsletter here.