“When dad showed me the universe” by Ulf Stark

When Swedish star author Ulf Stark and Eva Erikson, winner of the Astrid Lindgren price, pair up to make a children’s book you know it will be special.

"When dad showed me the universe" by Ulf Stark, published by Gecko Press
“When dad showed me the universe” by Ulf Stark, published by Gecko Press

We just read “When dad showed me the universe” by Ulf Stark – and I have to be honest, this book was totally different from what I expected! But this is not a bad thing…

The story: Dad wants to show his son something very special he will remember forever: The universe. To prepare for the daring adventure they wrap up warm after dad put aside his bloody dentist coat, get some gum and start they walk. Eventually they get there… The dog park. All seems to be going to plan. It’s totally dark, the universe unveiling in his full majesty. While son is more fascinated by a snail on the ground (because “The entire universe includes everything” doesn’t it?) dad explains about star constellations. Sometimes you have to look up – but sometimes you should look down, too. While dad wanted to give his son an experience he won’t forget he learns a lesson himself… “The entire universe includes everything, my friend”. This includes snails, flowers – and, sometimes, stepping into dog poop… While dad seems to be slightly disappointed about the whole evening, his son is more than happy. He had a wonderful time with his dad and saw everything, the whole universe – including its smallest residents and its up and downs. “It was beautiful – and funny.”


Sometimes parents forget that small things are what matters to our children. We have dreams, we want to show our children something great, something that lasts. But sometimes dreams and reality don’t match. That’s not a bad thing though, because children find the beauty in every small thing. Some alone time with us sometimes means more than the whole universe. Sometimes it’s about the experience, not about the lesson. How do you say? The journey is more important than the destination. And sometimes lessons come in unexpected packages.

Reading this book I got a lesson as well. Not just about expecting a certain content from a book title, but also to enjoy every moment, every page read and every minute on the playground with my daughter. We just ditched the running stroller and I don’t get as many miles in as I planned as Finja sometimes is running with me (so it’s just one kilometer instead of ten or more…), what sometimes makes me frustrated. I kind of missed how special it is that Finja is holding my hand and sharing my love for running and the great outdoors… This was definitely a lesson for me – one I will try to remember in the following days.

But back to our review.

I love the surprising sense of humor Ulf Stark shows in his book. From the blood freckled coat to stepping in dog poop, “When dad showed me the universe” is more than a science book. It’s a book about an adventure with dad, about the magnificence of the universe and the importance to cherish the small things.

Eva Erikson’s artwork is just grand. Full of expression and mirroring Stark’s humor her pictures are also soft and quiet, making this book a perfect match for bedtime. Her illustrations of the night sky make curious – and maybe your little one even requests a “real” science book about the universe after reading “When dad showed me the universe”?

“When dad showed me the universe” was pubished by Gecko Press, an independent publisher from New Zeeland. According to Gecko Press, the publishers aims to encourage children to love to read. “We champion strong stories rich in language and illustration – books that are ‘crunchy’.” “When dad showed me the universe” is definitely a crunchy book – fun and full of love! Enjoy! 🙂

…and please enjoy our reviews of “The big book of animals of the world” and “SHHH, I’m sleeping” by the same publisher!

More information:
“When dad showed me the universe”
written by Ulf Stark
illustrated by Eva Eriksson
Publisher: Gecko Press
ISBN: 978-1927271810



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