Happy Father’s Day! (a day early but we’ll be busy tomorrow…)

We’re a day early here at Childtastic Books but we’re going to be spoiling Holly’s dad Carl tomorrow so chances are we won’t get on to the site much. So this post is dedicated to Carl who Holly says is “nice, kind, funny and caring”. She also said “tall” which is true!

Dad and daughter
Dad and daughter … just a normal family scene!

To be fair, I should show one of Carl with his real hair!

Holly and Carl
Holly and Carl on holiday. If you peer carefully you may see the ubiquitous doughnut on the table!

 OK, embarrassing picture time over. Next, we have a round-up of Holly’s Father’s Day books. She only included ones where the dads were responsible, discrediting Pippi Longstocking’s father for going off and having adventures without her.

Top ten stories about dad (in our library, and in no particular order)

Some of these are written by the same author, so I will group them together.

Numbers 1, 2 and 3: all by David Walliams

The Boy in the Dress

Mr Stink

Billionaire Boy



Image courtesy of snazal.com

Holly once was overawed and rather tongue-tied when she met David Walliams at a book signing at Waterstones in Oxford. She had first come across his stories through an audiobook I downloaded for a car journey – Mr Stink – and thought he and Matt Lucas were hilarious. When David Walliams chatted to her as he signed her own copy of Mr Stink and his next book, Billionaire Boy, Holly just stood there, mouth agape. I think she managed to mutter something to one of the questions and then skipped away after being offered a Malteser.

Anyway, Holly has chosen these books because she says the fathers in them are good examples of how dads should be:

  • “In Billionaire Boy, the dad buys his son everything he needs but when things go wrong and the boy runs off then the dad realises how much he loves him and wants him back.”
  • “In The Boy in the Dress, the dad brings the boys up because the mother has left home. He’s nice but doesn’t know how to show it. By the end though he shows it very nicely.”
  • “In Mr Stink, the dad is nice to the daughter when the mum is not. He treats her well and understands her.”

It’s quite interesting actually, considering David Walliams’ books together like this. There does seem to be a pattern in them in terms of the children feeling like outcasts and uncomfortable in their own skins. The parents don’t appear to know how to handle this (as is often the case in real life) but mums don’t fare quite as well as dads do in his stories.

Numbers 4 and 5, by Roald Dahl

4 Danny the Champion of the World


Image courtesy of reinsmoen.blogspot.com

5 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory


Image courtesy of equire.org.uk

Roald Dahl is one of Holly’s favourite authors (alongside David Walliams, featured above). I think we’re all quite familiar with his sometimes grotesque treatment of adults and acerbic tongue when describing them but he can be kind too. These two books are examples of how parents, while needing help from their children, can still provide a good example and a loving relationship. Holly chose these two because:

  • “In Danny, the Champion of the World, the father supports Danny when his mother dies, and looks after him, and they have a good relationship.” (You can read Holly’s review of Danny here.)
  • “In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the dad works really hard to bring in money for his family.”

6. Swallows and Amazons, by Arthur Ransome


Image courtesy of fantasticfiction.co.uk

I must admit I was rather surprised Holly nominated this book because we’ve failed to finish it. However, the father must have made enough of an impression to inspire her to put this in her top ten. When I asked her why she said this book when the father is ‘at sea’  for the duration, she said, “Because he allowed them the chance to go off in the boat. If he hadn’t they wouldn’t have had their adventures.” So an absent but permissive parent is top of the pops. Must remember that.

7. The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank


Image courtesy of fantasticfiction.co.uk

Holly came across this one while researching her books for this post. She suddenly remembered Anne Frank’s descriptions of her relationship with her father and how “she gets on better with him than her mum. Her mum doesn’t understand her and they don’t get along.” It does happen, sometimes, and the daughter-father relationship is well-known and documented for its particular closeness.

8. Out of the Hitler Time, by Judith Kerr


Image courtesy of www.harpercollins.co.uk

When I was 8 or 9 I remember reading When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, Judith Kerr’s fictionalised version of her own family’s experiences during the Second World War and the rise of the Nazis. I recommended it to Holly, who then took to it with fascination. I bought the trilogy as I thought it would be interesting to follow the story on but I must say that the second and third books were rather more adult in content. We did read them with Holly in the end, but wouldn’t let her read them on her own as some of the issues they deal with are too adult. Holly loved the trilogy and, in fact, loves anything by Judith Kerr, as her review of Mog the Forgetful Cat shows.  

Holly chose this trilogy for the Father’s Day list for very similar reasons to Anne Frank’s autobiography – that the girl in these stories does seem to have more in common with her father. “Her mother was quite stressed a lot of the time,” said Holly, “whereas her father seemed to understand her more.” Goodness, this must happen in this house, as I tend to stress a lot and I haven’t the excuse of World War Two to blame.

9. The Lion King, story adapted from the film by Disney

Image courtesy of fantasticfiction.co.uk

We were a little concerned that we didn’t have many picture books in our selection, especially since these are the ones that often focus on dads and how special they are. When we visited a bookshop last week, all the displays were dedicated to baby books about dads but we don’t seem to have any here! Anyway, The Lion King was a good choice as it does portray how far a father’s love for his child will go. Holly thinks this is the utmost in fatherly love: “He saved Simba from a stampede of wildebeests but died instead!”  There is no greater sacrifice, and thankfully this situation is rare.

10. Can You Catch a Mermaid? by Jane Ray

Image courtesy of www.janeray.com

We have already reviewed this book on the site here but we wanted to repeat it again because it is a lovely portrayal of a daughter-father relationship that seems to be more unusual in books than the typical mother-child bond.  As Holly says:  “He is very nice to his daughter: he’s good and they have a caring relationship.”



    • Glad you found some new books in there. David Walliams is great for a laugh though his books are quite sad in some ways too. The audiobooks are hilarious – I think Holly prefers them to the written ones as he and Matt Lucas are well-known comedians here in the UK.


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