Wood produces a cozy, gently humorous title that features a multitude of cuddly father-and-child animal pairs showcasing the innumerable ways a dad can show his love.
Ideal for the younger set at Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day or any day at all, this title states what most kids know: that “[w]hen a dad says ‘I love you,’ he doesn’t always say it in the plain old ordinary way.” The extraordinary demonstrations of paternal love include actions that most children may take for granted. Making pancakes, “even if they’re a little bit…crispy,” racing around the yard, singing a song “for the three hundred and sixty-ninth time,” inventing silly nicknames, giving bike-riding lessons, answering questions “that start with ‘Why,’ ” sharing magic tricks and reading a good story are just some of the many examples. Bell’s digitally finished illustrations have a soft yet sketched quality that captures the warmth and fun as the creatures interact. The cast features bears, alligators, frogs, mice, zebras, foxes, pigs, cats and koalas, among others. In the end, as the youngster is being tucked in, the story circles back to the initial pair of bears. Here, “just to fool you, a dad might say… / ‘I love you.’ In the plain old ordinary way.”
This would be equally successful sharing one on one or with a group and may also be an engaging conversation starter about how actions often speak louder than words. (Picture book. 3-6)