We don’t often talk about kid’s books here since we don’t want to have to talk about all of them. But when we do, it’s something wonderful to us.
Ahmet Zappa’s Because I’m Your Dad is so simple that it’s that kind of wonderful. A kid’s book about a dad, written by a dad? We’re sold.
Because I’m Your Dad is a love song from father to son. “Because I’m your dad…you’re gonna get tickled,” the first sentence declares. And at that, the book already won me over. So many dads these days are trying to shed the old, tired image of the detached and overworked father who only has time to play catch. Modern dads want the world to know that they enjoy tickling and hugging their kids just as much as moms. Just the simple fact that Zappa’s book opens with the declaration that he’s going to tickle his kid – it hits a dad right in the feels.
The story goes on. Across other pages, there’s other declarations of love; “…you might have an unusual name,” “…I will miss you so much when I’m away,” “…you can sometimes stay up late with me to watch TV.” Skipping around, you get the picture that this is the modern dad: loving, involved, missing his children when he’s away, and having fun with them when he’s there.
Ahmet Zappa, son of musician Frank Zappa, is no newbie to writing. Among his other work, he wrote a young adult book in 2006 called The Monstrous Memoirs of a Mighty McFearless, and also wrote the story for the 2012 Disney movie The Odd Life of Timothy Green. He’s also reportedly (as of 2006) working on a movie adaptation of Fraggle Rock.
I’d be remiss to not mention Dan Santat’s illustrations. Santat, the creator of Disney cartoon The Replacements, created a wonderful world around Zappa’s voice.
The monsters, who play the story’s father and son, have a Where the Wild Things Are vibe – but are more colorful. The illustrations are big – and really bring the story to life. Each page only has one or two lines on it, so 90% of the page is Santat’s illustration. Whether it’s the little monster behind a drum set or the dad telling a funny bedtime story, these illustrations are perfect to help your child stay focused while you read. In fact, you might have to linger on each page long after the line’s done because your child will want to look at the pictures. And you might too!
We were able to use our 8BitDad forensics lab to dismantle the book and take a high-quality, detailed photo of what a typical two-page spread in the book looks like:
As a testament to how much my own son liked Because I’m Your Dad, he made me read it twice in a row the day we received it. I remember thinking “well, maybe he’s too old for this one now,” but it’s a quick read and obviously my son loved it. The publisher gives a suggested age range of 1-5 years, if you’re a numbers kind of guy.
Here’s a little trailer for the book, which admittedly won’t tell you much:
That trailer may not clear things up for you, but here’s what you need to know: Because I’m Your Dad is a sweet story and a quick read, and a perfect bedtime story for dads (or moms) to read to their little ones.