So cultivating Gabe’s library has been one of the great pleasures of new parenthood; new parents will of course be deluged with copies of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Goodnight Moon, and these are essentials. But I wanted to dig a little deeper than the easy ones, to share some books from our personal collection during this spooky time of year.
My Mom’s nickname for me as a baby (and far into adulthood) was Pookie. So it came as a wonderful surprise that Sandra Boynton has a line of books, whose central character is a young pig named Pookie. Through different iterations of Pookie’s adventures, children are taught about bedtimes and birthdays, dancing and dreaming. But it’s Spooky Pookie that is our favorite.
In Spooky Pookie, our title character works to find a Halloween costume, and parents will smile as Pookie finds one complaint after another for each costume his Mom suggests. It’s a lovely story that will let parents use different voices, describe different colors and shapes, and hold your baby even tighter as Halloween approaches.
But as I’d mentioned, the story does tell the tale of a mother and son, so if you’re looking for stories that are more specific to dads, I have two really great recommendations.
The first is Vanita Oelschlager’s A Tale of Two Daddies, and it’s a must-have if you’re a two-dad family like ours. It tells the story of a little girl with a Daddy and a Poppa, who is questioned on the playground by a boy who doesn’t understand the mechanics of a household run by two dads. She artfully and beautifully helps him understand how her family runs just as well as his, in a touching story that will work its way into your heart from the very first time reading through it.
The second book is Lesléa Newman’s Daddy, Papa, and Me. It’s a board book, and so it was automatically a favorite of Gabe’s, as he can chew corners and help turn pages with his hands as his motor skills get better and better. If you’re looking for a book that’s more than a noisemaker, this is still a solid bet. It’s wonderful how perfectly Carol Thompson’s illustrations resemble our family. This is another pretty interactive book, letting dads have fun with words like “strum” and “drum,” with “vroom” and “zoom,” some of Gabe’s absolute favorites. It also highlights really well that while the division of labor is split differently, the end result for the family is the same: absolute and total exhaustion for parents.
So these two dads are happy to have let you in on some of our family secrets, ways that we carry on what our moms did with us. And as the leaves begin to fall, we encourage you to take the time to snuggle up under a blanket with your little one, and fall in love with each other, story by story.