Tuesday, 7 September 2010

My Dad Thinks He’s Funny

My Dad Thinks He’s Funny by Katrina Germein, illustrated by Tom Jellett (black dog books)

HB RRP $24.99
ISBN 978-1-74203-121-7
Reviewed by Di Bates

Any child or parent reading this book will instantly recognised the way in which many adults wise crack. For instance, when a child says, ‘Dad, do you know what?’ Dad replies, ‘I don’t know What, but I know his brother.’ Or when a kid tells dad his finger hurts, dad replies, ‘Let’s chop it off.’ No doubt as you read this book, whoever you are, you’ll be nodding, smiling and say, ‘Yes, that’s right! That’s just how it is in our house.’ Smart aleck dad.

Australian writer Katrina Germein has a clever ear for dialogue and this book is full of gentle (and sometimes hilarious) family fun with a boy and his dad communicating – albeit not too seriously. My only problem with the story line is that it ends abruptly. Perhaps Dad saying something sensitive or loving at the end when his son is in bed might have been a more satisfactory ending rather than the much repeated refrain, ‘My Dad’s funny.’

Two other endearing features of this funny and engaging book are the design and the illustrations. To match the textual humour, Australian illustrator Tom Jellett has employed a cartoon style with lots of engaging design features. This includes the use of backgrounds which range from paper-bags to graph paper, corrugated paper to wall paper. As you open every page there’s a visual treat with the way in which the illustrations are placed and the illustrations themselves, which are full of unexpected fun. To add to this, the book designer has played around with text font, from small to large, from typeface to handwritten messages.

All in all, this book is going to capture a lot of attention and is likely to become not just a child’s favourite book, but also one which a parent will enjoy reading with his or her child. The reading level suits a child seven years and up, but the interest level is universal.

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