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Book Dads has commented on (36) products.

Travel Team by Mike Lupica
Travel Team

Book Dads, January 15, 2010

Danny Walker has lots of heart, but heart is not always enough when you’re always the shortest kid on the basketball team. Despite his skills and drive, Danny gets cut from the local travel team for reasons that may have everything, or nothing, to do with his height. And it’s not just any team, it’s the one that his dad Richie led to a national championship when he was a boy. It’s not fair, but Danny doesn’t expect help from anyone – least of all his dad. The injury that took Richie Walker out of the game of basketball also put his entire life into a tailspin, leaving him a divorced and aimless drifter with only the memory of his glory days left. But when Danny’s dad comes back into town and into his life, he volunteers to coach another travel team himself, one made up of all the kids who were cut just like Danny was. Together, Danny, his father, and their ragtag team hit the court for their own shot at the championship and personal redemption.

Danny’s relationship with his father is front and center in this story, and once again author Mike Lupica () shows us that he deeply understands the emotional life of boys. He shows us through Danny’s eyes how a boy’s drive and his love of basketball collide with an adult world of ambition and small-town politics. Travel Team is also a story of a boy growing up in a divorced family, and of how his life has changed even as he remains the son of both of his parents. Danny understands each of his parents in a way that they don’t understand each other, and this is most evident between Danny and his father. Richie Walker is a man who has met the challenges of life and been – or rather, allowed himself to be – defeated by them. Despite this, Danny never stops looking up to his father and seeing his admirable qualities, even as he also unflinchingly sees his father’s shortcomings. Richie Walker can’t put his life back together by himself, but by trying to be a better father for his son he also becomes a better man for himself. Travel Team attests to the deep and sustaining bond that can exist between fathers and sons despite the realities of life that can conspire to push them apart, and is a book about a lot more than just basketball.
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(9 of 18 readers found this comment helpful)



Sleepy Boy (Richard Jackson Books) by Polly Kanevsky
Sleepy Boy (Richard Jackson Books)

Book Dads, January 14, 2010

A little boy has had a busy day, watching lions in the zoo. Now he is a sleepy boy who can’t sleep, so his father lies beside him in bed and tells him to close his eyes. As the boy hears the sounds of his mother moving in the house and slowly drifts into sleep, he feels his father’s presence beside him. He peeks an eye open to look into his father’s eye, hears his father’s slow breathing, feels his father’s scratchy chin and smells the scent of his soap.

The illustrations, diffuse and softly glowing, perfectly portray the sleepy feeling of the story and the imaginary little lion cub who comes to visit. A wonderful book that perfectly evokes and celebrates what it feels like for a little boy to be in the physical presence of his father.
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(8 of 15 readers found this comment helpful)



Caillou Just Like Daddy (Caillou)

Book Dads, December 27, 2009

The toddler Caillou – from the popular series of children’s books and videos – learns all about daddies in this short book. Parents should be cautioned that Caillou asks how he was born on the very first page! Caillou finds out what it was like when he was a baby, decides that he wants to be like daddy too, and learns that his daddy has a daddy as well.

Just Like Daddy is written in very simple and straightforward sentences, like the other Caillou books. This makes the book easy to understand for toddlers, especially when explaining new ideas. Caillou stories are also notable for describing the – sometimes powerful – emotions that toddlers can feel, and young children seem to find this aspect of these stories both interesting and validating. So we learn not only what Caillou thinks about having a daddy (and a grandpa) but what he feels about it as well.

The illustrations are in the signature Caillou style, and easy for toddlers to comprehend. Adoptive or step-fathers should be cautioned that this book emphasizes the biological relationship between fathers and children, including aspects like having the same eye color.
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(6 of 14 readers found this comment helpful)



The Printer by Myron Uhlberg
The Printer

Book Dads, December 13, 2009

The young boy who narrates from this story from the mid-1940s has a father with a very special job: he is a printer, and works with the giant printing presses that print millions of newspapers every day. His father is very proud of his job using his hands to compose type for the presses, and his son is very proud of him too. Each day when the father returns home with a fresh paper, he makes a newspaper hat for his son that the boy wears until bedtime. His father also does something else with his hands: he speaks using American Sign Language. Because the father is deaf, he feels isolated from his hearing coworkers. But he still has many friends at work; other deaf men who also work with the presses since they are not bothered by the noise of the monstrous machines, although they can feel the vibration through the soles of their feet. One day his father notices a fire in the building, and the ensuing disaster becomes an event that brings the deaf and hearing workers together and that makes him a hero.

An underlying theme in The Printer is the love that the father has for his work, and the respect and admiration that evokes in his son. Much has been written in current times about the capacity of modern work to alienate fathers from their children. By contrast, in The Printer the father’s work becomes a way for his son to understand his father better. The paintings by Henri Sorenson that illustrate the story not only evoke the historical period, but also have a dreamlike quality to them appropriate for the story of a memory. The Author’s Note at the end of the book explains the parts of the story that are true and based on the life of the author’s own father. It also explains further about conditions working with the printing presses, the history of deaf people, and American Sign Language including one of the signs used in the book. The end of the book explains the tradition of newspaper hats and gives instructions for making your own.

The Printer is a touching story that is elegantly told, about a hardworking and heroic father as seen through the eyes of his son.
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(12 of 23 readers found this comment helpful)



Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth
Zen Shorts

Book Dads, December 11, 2009

Zen Shorts is a sequel to the delightful Zen Ties that features the further adventures of Stillwater the Giant Panda. One day Stillwater moves into the neighborhood of the siblings Addy, Michael, and Karl. The next day, Addy goes to visit Stillwater at his house and finds him sitting in the backyard in a tent that was a gift from his Uncle Ry, and tells her a Zen teaching story featuring Uncle Ry that is about generosity and non-attachment. In the following days first Michael and then Karl visit Stillwater, and he shares a story with each of them. By the end of the book, Stillwater’s gentle teaching has brought the siblings closer.

Muth has done a wonderful job of adapting classic Zen teaching stories for a younger audience. Each is told quite briefly with evocative black and white drawings and animal characters that will engage children’s attention. A short Author’s Note at the end of the book explains a little more about Zen and the stories, and parents can find more of these stories for interested children in one of the classic references such as Zen Flesh, Zen Bones. Like a spoonful of sugar, Zen Shorts imparts ancient wisdom about life to children in a painless and charming way.
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(20 of 37 readers found this comment helpful)



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