I've noticed a trend with kids' books that are about Dad: they're either cloying sweet, depicting Dad as Kindly Protector, or they swing the other way, depicting Dad as The Fun-Loving Goofy Parent. Within these two categories, there's another equally disturbing trend: Fun Dad books tend to be aimed at boys ("Hi son! Let's play baseball and fart together!"), Guardian Dad books tend to be aimed at girls ("You are my daughter and I will protect you, teaching you from an early age that henceforth you'll need a man to lord over you.") While I freely admit to occasionally conforming to both archetypes - and practicing the gender bias that goes along with them - I do my best to treat the kids equally, and not reinforce the idea that boys do this, and girls do this, and never the two shall meet.
When I agreed to do a sponsored post (yes, this is a sponsored post: I'm being reimbursed) about Ahmet Zappa's new book for kids Because I'm Your Dad, I didn't want to do a review (the book's great, and yes, Ahmet Zappa is Frank Zappa's son, and from all accounts it sounds like Frank Zappa was a really good dad). Instead, I thought it would be interesting to have Zoe test drive it. The Dad in the book is a goofy AND protective monster (literally - he's a green furry monster), and the book does what most of us do in real life - balance the fun stuff with the actual parenting. But which aspect would she gravitate toward?
Folks, this is my daughter we're talking about. Please. There should be no mystery here.
Apart from advocating rock music and belching, she also appreciated the fact that the book's easy enough for a five-year-old to read (as do I; we're flying to Florida in two weeks, and I need all of the easy-to-read books I can fit into an overhead bin). The book's now one of her favorites - and I will say that she liked the parts about Monster Dad always being there for her. That's a feeling that kids share regardless of gender. As for bathtubs filled with Rocky Road ice cream, she and I will have to have a discussion about that. Rocky Road? Not in my house. A tub full of Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia - that's a different story.