Review Blog

Sep 17 2012

Dads - A field guide by Justin Ractliffe and Cathie Glassby

cover image

Random House Australia, 2012. Hardcover, full colour illustrations. ISBN 978 1 74275 549 6.
Recommended. Picture book. Find out what kind of Dad you have with this handy field guide, which is a celebration of the many and varied types of Dad. There are sporty Dads, scruffy Dads, work Dads and holiday Dads, and more besides.
Written and illustrated in a manner which gives as much to the young audience as it does to the adult reader, this book is a quirky hit in my book. The author, a Dad himself, got the idea for the book after watching the different Dads at school drop off. Although the concept is simple, the clever illustrations of Cathie Glassby add so much to the field guide.
There is the perennial child favourite gag (a Dad in undies! UNDIES!), as well as more subtle nods to the different sterotypes of Dad we grown ups recognise (like nerdy Dad in his skivvy, throwing up the Star Trek salute, or clumsy Dad, trying to put together furniture, while his young observer looks on, Ikea manual in hand), which makes the book, simple though it may be, relateable on so many levels.
The book includes all ethnicities of Dad, which is nice to see, as well as Dads with and without facial hair, which is also a nice touch. All too often, Dad is depecited as Anglo saxon, slightly balding and clean shaven.
All in all, a book with something for everyone who has had a Dad, been a Dad, or notices Dads out in the world.
Freya Lucas

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