Sunday 2 August 2015

My Amazing Dad

My Amazing Dad written by Ezekiel Kwaymullina, illustrated by Tom Jellett (Little Hare Books/Hardie Grant Egmont)
HB RRP $24.95
ISBN 9781921894862

Reviewed by Liz Ledden

Individuality, embracing imperfection and the warmth of unconditional love are at the heart of this sweet ode to dads.

Told from the perspective of a young boy and his little brother (with their ever-present crocodile and red frog in tow throughout the book), the narrative opens with ‘My dad is not like other dads’, building anticipation straight away.

Jellett’s illustrations depict a lovable yet goofy-looking father, appearing comically dazed at the responsibilities that await. As it turns out, he’s not so good at mowing lawns, fixing taps or baking cakes, but that doesn’t matter to the kids when he creates a maze in the grass, makes bath-time a mess of bubbles and takes them to the cake shop instead.

While some stereotypical chores that are traditionally expected of dads are included, they are seamlessly mixed with other more equitable expectations, like taking the kids to school or reading them a bedtime story. Mum arrives home at lights-out time at the end, presenting readers with a realistic look at contemporary families, where gender roles are much more fluid.

Creativity is another theme at this book’s core; after all, who wouldn’t rather arrive at school via a supersized hopscotch or listen to stories in a makeshift tent past bedtime? Jellett’s vibrant, full-bleed illustrations on each page beautifully highlight the fun and joy of a childhood made all the more exciting by this amazing dad’s ideas.

The release of My Amazing Dad is timed perfectly for the lead-up to Father’s Day, and sends positive messages around togetherness, fun, affection and love, and turning the ordinary into the extraordinary.

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