Sunday, June 16, 2013

New Dads in Picture Books

Today is Father's Day so I have been thinking about the fathers in children's literature I admire.  There are many #bookdad favorites including:  Auggie's dad (Wonder), Trixie's dad (Knuffle Bunny Free), the dads in Every Friday and When Daddy Calls Me Man.

Here are two newer books about dads:

Red Kite, Blue Kite by Ji-li Jiang and illustrated by Greg Ruth.
I also admire the strength of the father in Red Kite, Blue Kite, a story released in January.  In this story, Baba and Tai Shan enjoy flying kites together from the top of their roof.  One day, Baba is sent to a labor camp and Tai Shan is sent to live with his grandma in a small village.

Each evening Baba flies his blue kite from the camp and Tai Shan flies his from the small village.  Evening after evening they say hello to one another with their kites.  Then one night, Tai Shan doesn't see Baba's blue kite.  Nights pass and still Tai Shan doesn't see Baba's kite.

Soon Baba appears to tell Tai Shan he will not be able to fly his kite for a long time.  Baba tells Tai Shan, "When you fly our kites, know that I am looking at the same sky and thinking of you."  Then Baba is taken away.  Will Baba and Tai Shan ever be together again?

This is a beautiful story of hope and a reminder of the freedom's we often take for granted.

Just Like Papa by Toni Buzzeo and illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka.
Many kids want to be just like their dads, and Kito is no exception.  When Papa roars Kito roars.  When Papa hunts Kito hunts.  No matter how hard Kito tries he just doesn't have the power of his father.  Some day he will.

I enjoyed the language in this story.  Phrases like "echoes across the plain," "yellow moon slides into sleep," and "sun slips toward blue twilight" fill the pages.  The characters are sweet and endearing.

The illustrations by Mike Wohnoutka are colorful and interesting as the reader is moved from morning to night, from rest to hunting, and from serious to fun.

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