Nelly Gnu and Daddy Too

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Nelly Gnu and Daddy Too Book Poster Image
Cheery portrait of a fun day with Daddy.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows how you can make a little house out of a cardboard box. Shows what tools and materials you'll need. 

Positive Messages

Daddy always knows what to do. Daddy can make anything! Daddy will find you if you get lost. "Every night and every day, Daddy makes it all OK."

Positive Role Models & Representations

Daddy's kind, loving, patient, creative, responsible, fun, and he even cooks for the family. Nelly's cheerful, helpful, cooperative, loving, appreciative.  

Violence & Scariness

There's one moment when Nelly feels lost at the store, but Daddy quickly scoops her up and gives her a big, reassuring hug.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Anna Dewdney's Nelly Gnu and Daddy Too is a rhyming picture book about a girl and her dad -- who happen to be gnus -- building a playhouse out of a cardboard box. It's a fun book featuring a sweet, cheerful character from the popular Llama Llama series. It's all happy, with no conflict, and simple rhymes that make it great for read aloud and perfect for bedtime. 

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What's the story?

Nelly Gnu shows how much fun you can have when your can-do dad helps you helps you transform a cardboard box into a cool playhouse. He measures, saws, tapes and draws, and they both add glue and paint. They go on a "big adventure to the store!" to buy paints and brushes, and Nelly gets lost for a second by Daddy quickly finds her. They return home to paint the little house, enjoy a family dinner that Daddy cooks, and read books together before bed. "Every night and every day,/ Daddy makes it all OK."

Is it any good?

Nelly Gnu, a character from the popular Llama Lama books, gets her own spin-off tale, and it's a winner. Llama Lama always seems to have dilemma or learn a lesson in his stories. But this one is pure joy -- simply a celebration of how fun it can be to do stuff with your dad.

But it's not drippy and sentimental. Nelly and her dad work on a project together as partners and enjoy the satisfaction of creation. The simple rhymes make it a fun read aloud, perfect for bedtime, too. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about dads. What's fun about them? What's you favorite thing to do with your dad? 

  • Why do you think so many picture books feature animal characters? What's fun about seeing animal families act like human families?  

  • Make something out of a cardboard box like Nelly does. Ask your dad to help you design and paint it. 

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love picture books and animal stories

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