CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 25 . . . . March 10, 2017
With its simple, sweet text and illustrations, How I Love You, Daddy is well-suited for a quiet storytime for younger children or as a cozy bedtime story. The text is a repetition of the excerpt, listing the things that various animal babies do to show how they love their daddies, such as nipping, bouncing, wrestling, splashing and diving. Each father child animal pair is featured lovingly on a spacious double spread, with the little animal bouncing across the left page until its father embraces it on the right page. At the end, the three little tigers' daddy returns the favour by nipping, bouncing and pouncing upon his babies ("and that is how I love you") before they all curl up together and go to sleep.
The illustrations are spare watercolours spaced widely across the pages, with all the pencil lines showing through underneath, giving an effect as though they came from someone's idea sketchbook. The animals are featured on the briefest of backgrounds, mere suggestions of ice or grass created by splashes of colour and a few pencil lines, with a small detail such as a daisy or a knothole adding some density. This brings the focus to the animals and their movements. The text is placed cunningly in spots where the eye falls naturally when following the movements of the animals in the illustrations so that reading the text and looking at or discussing the pictures can follow a gentle rhythm. In the text, the actions of the baby animals are set in a light blue font (bolded in the excerpt) that mimics a child's carefully printed letters, inviting emphasis when reading aloud and drawing attention to the repetition in the text. It is a well designed book that was certainly made for reading together, but it might also serve as the first book a child learns to read on his/her own.
Although there are many picturebooks that celebrate the love between parent and child, How I Love You, Daddy does not need to fear being redundant or cliched within a group of similar titles.
Saeyong Kim is a Casual Youth Librarian in British Columbia.
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