Tag Archives: Nicky Johnston

This Is My Dad

A dead dad is sad. But at least you know. Not having one and never having known him can be really hard. Or, not hard at all. It depends.

I recall when at primary school my teacher set the class to draw Father’s Day cards, and how she knew her children well enough to put two of us aside, doing other things. Because we didn’t have fathers.

In Dimity Powell’s and Nicky Johnston’s picture book This Is My Dad, Leo’s teacher seems oblivious when she introduces a Tell Us About Your Dad Day. Leo doesn’t know what to do. And at home, his mum is rather busy, so he can’t ask her about it.

But he comes up with a solution. For his presentation at school, Leo tells the class about his mum. Because to him, she is his dad.

It’s so simple. But it’s also really difficult, until you work out who does what and why. In my case I worked something else out, and once I’d done it, all the pieces fell into place. The important thing is to have someone. It doesn’t matter who they are, as long as they are somebody to you.

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Thinking differently

The Incredibly Busy Mind of Bowen Bartholomew Crisp is the loveliest picture book by Paul Russell and Nicky Johnston. It sounded good before I had it here to read, but it’s miles better in every way now that I have read it.

Bowen doesn’t think like everyone else. Not as fast, nor about the same things. But he is intelligent, and not only does he think in his own way, but he realises that other people don’t see the same things he does, or in the same way.

What colour is the ocean? I mean really? And you can’t be expected to look at a great work of art and have an opinion in no time at all. Or not send your tortoise into space? (He didn’t, because Grandma intervened.)

But after all those experiences with teachers and other adults who don’t get him, there is one person who does. His mum. Either she’s a bit special too, or she has learned from experience how to think like Bowen. The two of them get on very well, but I’m afraid I still don’t know if dinner will make itself?

It’s a thought, though, isn’t it?