I have to be honest: Although I say we are a “family of bilingual readers”, I’m the “main reader” in this household. I select the books Finja reads and bedtime stories are my assignment. This doesn’t mean my husband isn’t interested in reading or Finja doesn’t love to read with her dad – he just doesn’t get the chance often with working late.
When we got the review copy of “When I am with dad”, Finja immediately hid the book in my husband’s bookshelf. Her words: “This is a book only dads can read.” So – okay. Due to work assignments and colleagues from Germany in town reading the book together took longer than planned – but it seems we timed our review of “When I am with dad” perfectly anyway – official date of publication is tomorrow, August 1st 2016.
That being said: Moms and dads just do things differently. One parent likes everyday tasks a certain way, days with the other parent are different – but not necessarily in a bad way. Just like dads read bedtime stories differently than moms.
That’s exactly the experience Elizabeth and her little sister Lulu make while spending a day with their dad. He just has his own way of doing things. From sleeping in late over an unusual breakfast (pizza with eggs and bacon anyone?), pigtails that just look like being put in by pigs, naptime that turns into tickle time, using the wrong bathroom during grocery shopping and a room like an obstacle course – just to name a few – days with dad are just different. But although dad isn’t good with art projects everything is a masterpiece for him – and even when bedtime comes a little late end up falling asleep in their daddy’s arms. “No matter how different they are, my days with Dad are the best because I am with someone who loves me more than anything.”
“When I am with dad” is a book that made me a little weepy as their reminded me of my own childhood and weekends with my dad, croissants with lots of Nutella in the morning, fresh berries, convenience food, motorbike rides and visiting the bookstore. But in the end it doesn’t matter if Kimball Crossley describes the situation after a divorce or just a usual day with dad while mom is at work or enjoys some free time. “When I am with dad” is a perfect story to strengthen the bond between fathers and kids, to get some good laughs and discover that differences aren’t bad – especially not when it’s about being with one of the persons you love most! Finja really enjoyed reading this book. She found parallels and differences (“But daddy can do my hair better than mom!”), but was a little unsure of two of the illustrations by Katie Gambs, both showing the dad of this story as animals: A tired bear and a pig making pigtails. Other than that the illustrations complement the story perfectly. I especially loved the open facial expressions of Elizabeth, Lulu, their dad and (yes!) the cat.
“When I am with dad” was published by “Two little birds”, a hybrid publisher in which the author and the publisher are both, physically and financially invested in the book. “The authors and illustrators retain all rights to their work, enabling them to seek more opportunities.” The publisher partners with Jennifer Frances with Bess the Book Bus and donates one book for every book sold. “We know that access to books is not an equal opportunity in many parts of the world, so we are committed to sharing the books we create with children who might not otherwise have the experience of owning a book.”
That being said: “When I am with dad” is the perfect book for preschool- and elementary-school-aged children and their dads! Enjoy!
„When I am with dad“
written by Kimball Crossley
illustrated by Katie Gamb
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Two Little Birds (August 1, 2016)