Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Spend Quality Time w/ Dad This Father's Day by Reading Some Great Children's Books from Candlewick Press (Review)

Disclosure: I was sent copies from the publisher in order to write up an honest review.  The views shared are mine and mine alone.

Candlewick Press 

Father’s Day with Candlewick
Books to celebrate all that Dads do!

It wasn't until after college that my husband took up the hobby of reading.  When I met him in college, he hated being told what to read, and found this as one of the major reasons whey he didn't find recreational reading fun.  By the time he was done with required reading, he had no desire to pick up another book for fun.  But, once he graduated from college, he began business and inspirational books, and was hooked on books.  Then, we we found out back in 2009 that we were expecting our first daughter, he started picking out children's books to read to our daughter in the womb, and then when we welcomed her into the world.  Bedtime was a cherished "Father/Daughter" time for him, as he always looked forward to helping with her bath, and then would sit with her in the rocking chair and read books he had picked up.  And, now with two girls, bedtime is a little bit more stressful, but still consists of bath time, followed by bedtime reading with Daddy.  I am home with the girls all day, so we get in our share of reading time.  So, while my husband spends quality time reading to the girls, I am able to get the house in order. :-)

While my husband still loves going to the bookstore or browsing online retailers for new books to share with the girls, he often turns to me for suggestions on books to read to them.  He knows that I love reviewing children's books on my blog, and that we continually have new releases shipped to our doorstep monthly.  With the bookcases filled with books, he always wants to choose 1-2 that will sum up how he feels about the girls, or how silly Daddy is, when he is trying to get a laugh out of fussy, overtired toddlers. :-)  So, with Father's Day fast approaching, I surprised my husband the other day with these four new books from Candlewick Press -- one of my favorite go-to publishers for children's books. -- all of which would make for a great gift for Dad (to share with the kids at bedtime or anytime):

My Dad Thinks He’s Funny
By Katrina Germein, illustrated by Tom Jellett

April 2013 | ISBN: 9780763665227 | $15.99 | Hardcover | Ages 5-8 | 32 pages

"The ideal gift book for anyone whose dad makes them laugh- or roll their eyes.  When his son says “I’m hungry,” Dad says, “Hello, Hungry. Pleased to meet you.” Before slicing a cake for dessert, Dad announces, “There’s my piece. What’s everybody else having?” How is he feeling? “With my hands.” So when nothing’s up but the sky, or when jumping in the shower sounds dangerous, it may be a good time to share this book with someone who doesn’t need sugar because, well, they’re sweet enough already."

“An amusing tribute to dads who like to yuck it up.” – Kirkus Reviews

The Matchbox Diary
By Paul Fleischman, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline

March 2013 | ISBN: 9780763646011 | $16.99 | Hardcover | Ages 6-10 | 40 pages


"Newbery Medalist Paul Fleischman and Bagram Ibatoulline tell a breathtaking immigration tale with appeal across generations."

« “Creative and captivating” – Kirkus Reviews, starred review

« “A beautiful offering from two celebrated children’s book creators.” – Booklist, starred review

« “This lovingly crafted picture book tells an amazing story that is uniquely American.” – School Library Journal, starred review

« “A powerful introduction to the American immigrant story.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review

The Deer Watch
By Pat Lowery Collins, illustrated by David Slonim

April 2013 | ISBN: 9780763648909 | $15.99 | Hardcover | Ages 3-7 | 32 pages


"Feel the anticipation—and share the moment of discovery—as a young boy and his dad set out to find one of nature’s unforgettable wonders.  A father promises his young son that this summer they will see a deer. Squirrels scurry up trees, rabbits leap out of sight, and a pheasant flushes into the sky, but the deer remain hidden until the boy is almost ready to give up and head home. A captivating, lyrical narrative and oil-on-linen landscape illustrations create a sense of quiet suspense as a young boy experiences a sight he will hold in his memory forever."

« “This quiet picture book records a child’s experience of nature with precision, beauty, and understated power.” – Booklist, starred review

Written and illustrated by Grahame Baker-Smith

February 2013 | ISBN: 9780763663704 | $17.99 | Hardcover | Ages 5 – 7 | 40 pages


"When a father who dreams of flying goes off to war and does not return, his son decides to make the dream come true. Grahame Baker-Smith’s moving story, with stunning illustrations, shows how, with love and a bit of ambition, you can reach seemingly impossible goals."

“Evocative and moving.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Baker-Smith’s gilded images of the father’s elaborate winged contraptions and placid spreads of sky and clouds offer hope.” – Publishers Weekly


Each of the above books have become instant hits with both my husband and daughters.  I, too, love the breathtaking illustrations seen in FArTHER and The Matchbox Diary.  What I loved about these books is that they can be enjoyed by children of all ages. While the younger audience may not understanding the storyline, they will be mesmerized by the illustrations.  This is one of the main reasons I turn to Candlewick Press, as they offer a wonderful selection of books for kids that will even impress parents once they begin flipping the pages and reading each book to their child(ren).

Out of the four books, my husband and I agree that The Matchbox Diary was our favorite.  I even caught my husband a few times picking the book up off the coffee table after the girls have gone to bed, just to flip through the pages and admire the detail to each illustration.  He said that he had never seen a book like this before, in which the illustrations really do bring the story to life.  You feel like you are the one sitting there listening to this old man tell the story behind each matchbox.  

Our second favorite book, which I have to admit I teared up when I first read it, was FArTHER.  Like The Matchbox Diary, you will find yourself getting lost in the illustrations of this book alone.  Even if this book didn't have a text, the illustrations alone would make for a great picture book.  This book has also become one of Savannah's favorite to read with my husband, as she loves telling him her own story based upon what she sees in the picture.  While it does not go with the text in the book, how can you not enjoy listening to a three year old with a pure heart and mind, tell you about the wonders of the clouds and her love for her Daddy! :-)

So, if you are looking for a unique gift to give Dad this year, why not surprise him with any of the above titles, or other books from Candlewick Press?  Even if your husband is not a fan of reading, he will love picking up any of these titles and sharing quality time with your child(ren).  :-)

Disclosure: I was sent copies from the publisher in order to write up an honest review.  The views shared are mine and mine alone.


  1. I love these stories we have some and I think its great that fathers are reading more with their kids....instead of just mothers...these books are a great way to introduce a father and his kids into reading time together its such a great bond to have...thanks for sharing

  2. i really want to read the matchbox diary! it looks so good. it's been on my to read list for awhile.

  3. been looking for some cute books for fathers day. definitely going to check out My Dad Thinks He’s Funny

  4. I love books and want my daughter to loves them as well.
    Those books you recommended look very interested. Thank you for sharing.