Daddy Sat on a Duck
By Scott M. Cohn, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 32 pages, $17
Few of our fathers' privileges were passed on to this generation. As dads, we are no longer permitted to smoke pipes in moving cars or give eight-year-olds sips from a bottle of Molson Golden. However there is one paternal privilege we still hold dear – the right to flaunt propriety and make a funny sound. Daddy Sat on a Duck takes the long tradition of fathers creating rude animalistic noises and holds it tenderly up to the light. Every dad is a domesticated animal but this book is a loving ode to the piece of wild that remains within.
Meet the Dullards
Written by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri, Balzer and Bray, 32 pages, $21.99
The Dullards are dull and they work very hard to stay that way. They watch an unplugged TV. They give their kids blank paper to read. This book captivated all three of us but it wasn't just the deadpan funny text or the illustrations that tell so much of the story. We all understood, silently, without saying anything about it, that this story was really about the futility of the overprotective parental style currently in vogue. When all three of the Dullard children ran away to the circus, both Phoenix and Frida not only loved it, they completely understood why. A beautiful, timely fable.
Canada: Our Road to Democracy
Written by Alister Mathieson and Marianne Ilass, illustrated by Derek Douglas, Humber Press, 64 pages, $24
There's a creeping tendency within English Canada to believe that we're basically Americans from a colder climate, which is why every one of us should be forced to read this kids' book. An ABC book, this is an unapologetic examination of Canada's socialist leanings, presenting a cultural identity refreshingly free of hockey, doughnuts or beer. Also, in true Canadian fashion, it sat overlooked on the pile for almost a year. I'm not sure why Frida pulled it out and asked me to read her a letter a night. But by the time we got to Z(ed), we both knew that Canada is not only unique, it's awesome.