‘No matter what happens, Daddy will be there’

Michelle, the director of my daughter’s superb preschool, gave me this book as a gift when my daughter was four or five. I had expressed my irritation at the many “dad as idiot” children’s books, like the anti-male Berenstain Bears series. Michelle sympathized, and got me Lois G. Grambling’s Daddy Will Be There, a sweet children’s book about a dad and his little girl. Remarkably, in the book the dad actually manages to care for his daughter all by himself, without a wife to show him how to parent and explain how he’s doing everything wrong.
The New York Times says: “A young girl plays in her room, learns to ride a bicycle, goes to a birthday party and watches insects in a field, in each case secure in the knowledge that her father is in the next room or just around the corner if she needs help. In the final pages, the confident youngster is smiling broadly as she goes to kindergarten, brimming with newfound independence but aware that her dad will be there later when she steps off the bus. The color illustrations, by Walter Gaffney-Kessell, leave the father in the background for the most part, relying instead on the girl’s expressions to reinforce the book’s sweet, pragmatic message about the joys and benefits of having a dad close at hand.”

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