Leo has a problem – he’s been asked to talk about his dad at Show and Tell, but he doesn’t have a dad. He does have a wickedly amazing mum who writes books about space aliens and saves the online world night after night (in very fetching stripy socks), but he’s never had a dad.
‘The perfect dad isn’t always a father.’ Leo’s situation raises infinite amounts of wondering about dads in general, and about his dad in particular.
As Leo ponders whether his dad might just be a surgeon or a frisbee thrower (and hats off to illustrator Nicky Johnston for the most excellent man-bun!), the reader ponders along with him. So much so, that we’re totally onboard when he asks the elderly neighbour to be a stand-in dad and a little sad when said neighbour suggests using the dog instead.
The evocative, beautiful illustrations interact seamlessly with the words and are a perfect complement to the story. The images are made to pore over as they sparkle off the page with life and movement. Gentle yet strong in a soothing colour palette, they are both flowing and funny. There is immaculate detail and an aha moment on almost every page.
And to the words themselves – I truly love the thoughtful and authentic approach that Leo takes to problem solving. His methods are creative as well as logical, moving through the initial refrain of ‘Mum? Mum? Muuuuum?’ to ultimately taking matters into his own hands. It’s wonderful that Leo is brave and empowered enough to make a discovery that is, in fact, a wonderful surprise to the reader.
This picture book holds a beautifully balanced celebration of family, creativity and ingenuity. Whether it’s the cheerful, methodical way that Leo’s problem-solving comes to life, the funny and thoughtful artwork – or more than likely, the magical author/illustrator combo of both – This Is My Dad busts through typical family stereotypes and conventions in all of the best ways.
Title: This Is My Dad
Author: Dimity Powell and Nicky Johnston
Publisher: EK Books $24.99
Publication Date: 2 March, 2022
For ages: 4 – 8
Type: Picture Book
March 16, 2022 at 12:34AM DimbutNice