Title: Mighty Dads | Author: Joan Holub | Illustrator: James Dean | Publication Date: April 29, 2014 | Publisher: Scholastic | Pages: 40 | Recommended Ages: 2 to 6
Summary: A new constructacular picture book from the New York Times bestselling creator of Pete the Cat, James Dean and bestselling author, Joan Holub.
Mighty dads, strong and tall,
help their children, young and small.
They keep them safe and bolted tight
and show them how to build things right.
Inventively told through James Dean’s colorful construction vehicle characters, MIGHTY DADS is an adoring dedication to hardworking fathers and the subtle ways they teach their boys and girls to follow in their tracks. The Dump Trucks learn to get dirty. Crane keeps his little one safe from harm. The busy Cement Mixer gives his daughter a hug. The Forklift cheers his son on.
A surprising and touching view of a father’s love for his children, MIGHTY DADS is the perfect way to say: I’m proud of you!
Also available at Walmart, Target, and Barnes & Noble stores.
My Thoughts: Mighty Dads pays hommage to those wonderful Dads out there who teach their youngsters how to do so many things. Featuring a crew of construction vehicles such as an excavator, a grader, a cement mixer, bulldozer, a crane and many more, the big Daddies are paired up with their tiny children who imitate them as they excavate, grade, mix, lift, roll, and so on. Children will delight in seeing these miniature construction vehicles achieving small successes side-by-side with their heroes.
Reading Mighty Dads put a smile on my face. With Father’s Day just around the corner, I can see Mighty Dads being a great choice as a feel-good picture book featuring Dads. On one level, we all know that children (and adults) are fascinated by construction vehicles and this book gives us a short tour of many different types as well as a short description of their function. While it may be a bit stereotypical to associate the construction industry with Dads, I was pleased to see that, aside from the dump truck which is clearly labeled “Big Daddy and Son Trucking” and perhaps a reference to “Junior” with the crane, the “offspring” of the Dads were genderless. There is no indication of gender for the majority of mini-vehicles. This one is to be shared between Dads and their sons OR daughters.
Each two-page spread features a father-child team of one type of construction vehicle. Each vehicle has a big version and a miniaturized version, all anthropomorphized in James Dean’s distinctive groovy style and described in rhyming verse by Joan Holub. I loved how so many different vehicles were featured (ten in all) and there was even one I had never heard of: a boom truck, which of course I had seen before but never knew what it was called. There is definitely lots for young children to learn about construction vehicles in this book. I also loved the inclusion of the sound effects or other repetitive phrases that go hand-in-hand with the particular vehicle (e.g., Excavator Big goes “scoop, scoop, scoop”; Crane Long Arm goes “reach, reach, reach”). Young children will enjoy imitating these actions.
The illustrations by James Dean use bright bold colors often found on contruction sites: yellows, blues, greens, and reds. I liked the simplicity in depicting the Dad-child teams of vehicles engaged in their primary function. It was adorable to see the tiny vehicles mimicking their Dad or even helping their Dad and achieving a fraction of what the bigger vehicle can achieve. For example, we see the big Dump Truck Sturdy dumping a big pile of dirt and the tiny Dumpy dumping out a tiny pile of dirt beside the massive one. My son and daughter had lots of “awwww’s” reading this one! And, can I say? I LOVE the final two-page spread. Check it out!
My Bottom Line: Mighty Dads is a feel-good picture book featuring bright and bold illustrations by James Dean (Pete the Cat) and simple but effective rhyming text by Joan Holub, (Goddess Girls, Little Red Writing). Young children will enjoy learning about the different types of construction vehicles, imitating their actions, and flipping through the pages seeing how the mini-versions work alongside their proud Dads. I highly recommend this book as one to be shared between Dads and their children, or to be read to a preschool or early elementary school classroom, or library reading circles. Ages 2 to 6.
* I received an electronic copy of this book free-of-charge from the author in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own. The author is participating in our Book Promotion services.
More Buzz About the Book
“Like the best 21st-century human dads, the vehicles don’t just show their kids the ropes—they also offer plenty of TLC (“Cement Mixer Busy/ gives a hug if Mixie’s dizzy”) and affirmation (“Forklift Wise/ cheers whenever Forky tries”). Dean’s decision to anthropomorphize the construction equipment solely through a highly stylized, often single, forward-facing eye takes some getting used to—imagine a cross between the Eye of Providence on the dollar bill and a Egyptian hieroglyph. But his construction sign–inspired palette and ability to convey calm, steady affection between parent and progeny quickly outweighs this visual idiosyncrasy, making this a book worthy of any young armchair foreman.” ~ Publisher’s Weekly
“This will make a good read aloud for those looking to update their trucks/machines storytimes.” ~ Goodreads Review
“The simple rhyming text will be fun at read alouds as children can do motions (roll, roll, roll or smooth, smooth, smooth)” ~ Goodreads Review
About the Author: Joan Holub
Joan Holub is co-author of the best-selling Goddess Girls series, the Grimmtastic Girls series, and the Heroes in Training series. Her picture book Little Red Writing received three starred reviews and has been named to many Best-of lists. Her mighty cool dad inspired the creation of the picture book, Mighty Dads.
About the Illustrator: James Dean
James Dean is the creator of the best-selling Pete the Cat. Before James started painting Pete the Cat as a full-time profession in 1999, he wanted to paint cars and trucks. He loves things that go, and currently drives a 1971 VW bus camper and a 1959 Chevy truck. He worked as an electrical engineer for fifteen years before he decided to try to make a living with his paintings. James lives with his wife, five cats, and a pug named Little Emma.
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