Bad Dad?

Christmas in jail. Is this an OK subject for a picture book? I think it is, even though we skirt fairly quickly past what Dad did to end up in jail. (He stole something.)

Liz Weir and Karin Littlewood, When Dad Was Away

In Liz Weir’s book When Dad Was Away, with illustrations by Karin Littlewood, Milly finds out about her Dad’s fate in the worst way; from the other children at school. But her Mum explains what it means and the family have to get used to their new life. They eventually visit Dad in prison, showing the reader how visitors are searched.

Dad records stories on a CD for his children to listen to, so apart from the stealing he is clearly A Good Dad. And they get to go to a Christmas party in the prison. This should reassure children who have members of their family in jail. I only hope the description is an accurate one.

In Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad? Julie Middleton writes about a very different Dad. This one takes his son Dave to a dinosaur museum. He assures Dave that all dinosaurs are dead.

Julie Middleton and Russell Ayto, Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad?

But are they? Well, what do you think? This is a picture book, and its dinosaurs are nowhere near as dead as we’d like them to be. Russell Ayto’s pictures could just about be interpreted as being all in Dave’s mind. That the dinosaurs really are extinct.

Except with the last one. Dad and Dave are dangerously close to becoming more dead themselves.

They RUN.

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