A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Many tasks from daily life pictured -- cooking, sewing, playing chess. Dad and girl frequently shown reading books and newspapers.
Dads can be caring and loving. The dad-daughter relationship can be a close one. Dads can participate in childcare in ways that aren't gender-stereotyped. Their lives are sweetly and closely entwined.
Positive Role Models
This dad's a gem, caring for his daughter in all kinds of sweet ways -- cooking, sewing, comforting her when they bury a pet, cuddling, telling and reading stories, combing and braiding her hair. The girl loves her dad and "helps" him, too, for instance decorating the cast on his leg, and teaching him to make shadow puppets.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dad by My Side is by Soosh, a European artist who gained attention when she posted a series of illustrations of a dad and daughter on Instagram. This book grew out of those popular posts, and has their guaranteed appeal. Dad's pictured as a bearded mountain of a man, with shirt often riding above his ample belt line, but he's gentle and attentive, participating in all aspects of daily care, for instance braiding her hair. The two could represent a single-parent family (photos on wall show just the two of them), but their relationship is universally touching and sweet, making this a good father-daughter choice for Father's Day or any day.
Is It Any Good?
This sweet, simple charmer of a book celebrates the touching and tender relationship between a girl and her larger-than-life dad. Dad by My Side features warm watercolor art "on eggshell textured paper" befitting a book illustrating daily domestic pleasures. Since author-illustrator Soosh is primarily an artist, the text is spare, but it's choice. When the two stir side-by-side bowls in the kitchen, the text reads simply, "Eggshells in our omelets don’t bother us at all."
This dad looms large, both physically and emotionally. His engagements with his daughter aren't gender stereotyped -- he sews, puts on puppet shows, cooks, cuddles, comforts, and sings his daughter lullabies via phone when he's on the road. In one picture, we see Dad's silhouette illuminated by candlelight inside a cozy tent, and he looks every bit the gentle giant. In another, captioned, "He protects me from monsters under the bed," the huge dad is shown sleeping upright on the girl's bed, wearing a superman shirt and cape, and holding a push broom to ward off the monsters we see cowering under the bed. What child wouldn't sleep more soundly with such a big, stalwart dad poised to protect them and care for them so sweetly?
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.