Three Squeezes (Jason Pratt)

Hello, friends! We’re back after our move to share a beautiful tale with you. Our book today is Three Squeezes, written by Jason Pratt and illustrated by Chris Sheban, a touching ode to the love between a father and child.

As a baby naps on a blanket in the grass, his father gently takes his hand and gives it three soft squeezes. This becomes a ritual between dad and his boy as the baby grows into a toddler, then a child, then a teen, and eventually a man with a family of his own. Offering comfort through nightmares, broken bones, little league losses, and the death of his faithful dog, these three squeezes – in the form of a hand held or a close embrace – become a secret language between the two, until the dad has become elderly and immobile. And on the final page, as their relationship has come full circle, the meaning of the three squeezes is translated for the reader as well: “I love you.”

A treasure. This gorgeously written and illustrated tale is as warm and comforting as a parent’s loving hug. The gently flowing rhymes are simple and earnest, yet manage to weave in some beautiful symbolism about the cycle of life, from infancy to old age, and how the bonds we make with our loved ones fill it. The art is soft and delicate yet carries equal depth, such as the juxtaposition between a child’s first steps and their graduation walk, or the subtle foreshadowing of the frailty of one’s later years. The length is perfect, and JJ and I both loved it. A perfectly heartwarming tale of fatherly love that just may bring a tear to your eye, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Hooked (Tommy Greenwald)

Hello friends and Happy Father’s Day! Our review today is Hooked, written by Tommy Greenwald and illustrated by David McPhail, a fishing story of father and son.

To Joe, there’s no better way to spend a day than a fishing trip. He enjoys the peaceful quiet and being alone with his imagination. More than anything, Joe wants his dad to join him, but his dad always says no, protesting that it’s boring (and he doesn’t like worms). So Joe joins the town fishing group instead, and is excited to hear of the upcoming ice fishing trip – until the group leader says that he must be accompanied by an adult. Joe asks his father to join him, who agrees on one condition: he never has to go fishing with Joe again. But when the pair head out to the lake, Joe’s dad may find that fishing isn’t just about what you catch, but who you spend the day with.

I have mixed feelings on this one. On one hand, it ends up being a sweet story, where Joe’s father learns to appreciate fishing as time spent together, and Joe can finally share his hobby. The illustrations are darling, with a nostalgic storybook style. But honestly, I can’t get over what a jerk Joe’s dad at first! Yes, he eventually realizes his error, but the responses he gives to his son wanting to spend time with him – and the way the illustrations show how clearly heartbroken Joe is by them – are upsetting as a parent, and could be upsetting to young readers as well. It’s a judgement call for those who want to share this with their own little bookworms, but it quite frankly turned me off. Otherwise, the length was fine, and JJ enjoyed the illustrations. But overall, this is one we’ll throw back.

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Top 5: Books About Dads

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Hello, friends! As June comes to a close, we’re here with our latest Top 5 List! Since many of you enjoyed last month’s Top 5 Books About Moms, and we celebrated Father’s Day in June, we decided to follow up with a list of our favorite books about dads and the special relationship they share with their little ones.

So without further ado, here are The Baby Bookworm’s Top 5 Books About Dads:

1. My Dad Thinks He’s Funny (Katrina Germein)

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Dad jokes: love them or hate them, dads always seem to have a natural ability to make them. Be it puns that make us groan, goofy behavior that makes us blush, or the embarrassment of dads being daaaaads, we’ve all experienced the unique attempts at comedy that only fathers can provide. This is a great send-up of dad jokes, told from the point of view of an exasperated little boy and chock full of eye-rolling dad jokes. Tom Jellett’s collage-style illustrations create a unique world that is enjoyable and supports the humor well. It’s a sweet story with a moral that so many of us (especially those who have been through our teenage years) can relate to: while our dads can be terribly mortifying, we love them anyway. And yes, sometimes they can even make us laugh.

2. Daddy’s First Day (Mike Wohnoutka)

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A hilariously sweet role-reversal story that made us (especially JJ’s daddy) grin. The first day of school can be a rite of passage that’s tough on everyone; especially, it seems, Oliver’s dad. After a summer of playing, reading, and spending time together, it’s time for Oliver’s first day of school, and he’s feeling pretty nervous. Oh no, Oliver’s not feeling nervous – but his dad is! Watching Oliver’s dad procrastinate dropping his son off at school, even projecting his feelings of trepidation onto his Oliver, is as humorous as it feels true; what parent doesn’t feel a bit unprepared to send their baby off to school for the first time? The art has a simple, earnest style that fits the guileless nature of the story. Overall, it’s a funny yet heartfelt tale of a devoted dad learning to let his little one grow, no matter how scary that might be.

3. Stella Brings The Family (Miriam B. Schiffer)

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June is also Pride Month, so we definitely wanted to include this fantastic story that combines LGBTQ families and celebrating the many roles that dads can have in their children’s lives. When Stella’s class is putting together a Mother’s Day party, she isn’t sure who to invite: while she has two daddies whom she adores, she doesn’t actually have a mother. Speaking to her teacher and classmates, she realizes that her fathers and extended family give her all the love and support that she needs, so she decides to invite all of them. While appearing feather-light on the surface, this is a story with great depth that shows that children in loving non-traditional families are in no way “missing out” in the places that their families differ from the nuclear model. Adorably sweet illustrations by Holly Clifton-Brown and a well-paced story create a fantastic celebration of families and the many shapes and forms they come in, and how having two fathers who love you is a point of pride.

4. My Dad Used To Be So Cool by Keith Negley

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This one is as much for the parents as it is for the kids, and we loved it. A little boy is pretty sure his dad used to be cool: he has tattoos, he used to ride a motorcycle, he even used to be in a band. But now he’s mostly just a normal, loving, chore-doing and only occasionally mortifying dad. The boy ponders what could have made his father change his lifestyle (the implied joke being, of course, that becoming a father did). Baby Bookworms like JJ will love the boldly-colored mod art style, and the former rockstars and rebels among us will definitely have a chuckle as the book reminds them of their pre-parenting wild days. There’s a sweet conclusion, too: while the glory days of rebellion may get left behind, being a loving daddy to a little one is classicly, timelessly cool.

5. Daddy Cuddle (Kate Mayes)

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Sweet, simple, and full of charm. A little bunny is the first to wake in his house, and rushes to wake his father and start the day. But no matter what activities the bunny tries to rouse his dozing father with, nothing seems to tempt the sleeping parent to wakefulness. At last, after the little bunny gives a frustrated shout, Daddy wakes up and, chuckling, pulls his little one into bed for early morning snuggles – the best activity to start a sleepy day with. Darling watercolor art by Sara Acton and simple two-word dialogue make this a great story for even the youngest baby bookworms. A heartfelt ode to both the boundless early-morning energy of little ones and the quiet, cuddly moments between father and child.

So, what do you think? Did we miss any of your favorites? Do you have a book about mothers you would like to recommend to us? Let us know in the comments, or message us from our Contact page. Thanks so much, and happy reading!

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale (Mo Willems)


Hello friends, and Happy Father’s Day! We’re back after a week off, and excited to share our review of a family favorite, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems, a hilarious autobiographical story of a girl, her dad, and her unusually-named best friend.

One day, Trixie and her daddy go for a walk to the laundromat, bringing along Trixie’s constant companion: a stuffed rabbit named Knuffle Bunny. Toddler Trixie is excited for the fun to be had, happily “helping” her father with the chore. The pair finish loading the washer and begin the walk home when Trixie realizes something. She attempts to tell her daddy the problem, but her babbling baby talk does not convey her distress. Her daddy thinks that Trixie is simply being fussy, and attempts to continue on their way. Well, this leaves Trixie no choice – she throws a walloping tantrum to communicate her complaint. By the time the pair return home, they are both frustrated, until Trixie’s Mommy opens the door and asks the magic question: “Where’s Knuffle Bunny?”

This is a favorite in our household, and no matter how many times we read it, it always gets a laugh. From the simple yet wonderfully expressive illustrations, to the sweet moments of father and daughter bonding, to the intensely relatable slice-of-life story that will make anyone with a toddler sympathize with both Trixie and her daddy, it’s a perfectly-paced tale that will please readers of any age. The distinctive style of art that incorporates illustrations over black and white photos of real-world environments gives the story a feeling of authenticity, and the length is perfect. JJ and I both love this one, and we highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a sweet story about the challenges and joys of being a perfectly imperfect father. Baby Bookworm approved!

My Dad Used To Be So Cool (Keith Negley)

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Hello, friends! Our book today is My Dad Used To Be So Cool by Keith Negley, a very funny story about formerly-cool parents and the kids we love to embarrass.

The book’s narrator, a little boy, is pretty sure his dad used to be cool. He has tattoos, he used to ride a motorcycle, he may have even been in a band (the little boy isn’t sure, but he has some evidence that makes him think so, like the drum kit in the closet). As the duo get ready to go to the park, the little boy imagines what his dad must have been like when he was cool, and wonders what made him change. But after a day of laughter and play, the boy decides that his dad is still pretty cool… and only occasionally mortifying.

This one was great, and was definitely as much for parents as their little ones. While baby bookworms like JJ will love the bright, boldly-colored mod-style illustrations and the story about the bond between fathers and their children, parents who have left their rockstar and rebel days behind for parenthood (as so many of us have) will definitely get a laugh out of the little boy’s musings about what might have made his dad give up being so darn cool. The length is perfect, and this one is just fun for the whole family, especially to those parents who can look back fondly (and with humor) on their wild glory days. Baby Bookworm approved!