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Baby & Toddler


6 Great Read-Together Books for Dads and Daughters

by Tom Burns

6 Great Read-Together Books for Dads and Daughters

When my daughter was three years old, she saw “The Little Mermaid” for the first time and became dead-set convinced that King Triton was the bad guy. “He destroyed all of her things, Dad!” It didn’t matter that Triton had a change of heart by the end (or that Ursula the Sea Witch was CLEARLY the villain). My daughter saw the poor undersea king as the “scary daddy,” and, feeling defensive on behalf of dads everywhere, I immediately turned to our local library to seek out children’s books with more positive father-daughter relationships.

If you’re looking for some excellent kids’ books featuring dads who would never, ever destroy their daughter’s dinglehoppers, here are some of my favorite father-daughter picture books for your youngest readers.

  • Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me

    by Eric Carle

    Young Monica asks her father to bring her the moon, so her dad does what any good dad would do — he gets out a ladder and starts climbing. Carle’s beautiful, iconic illustrations are enhanced by clever fold-outs, which really make this warm-hearted tale a fun read-aloud experience. (Your child will also pick up some practical knowledge about the phases of the moon as well.)

  • Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale

    by Mo Willems

    Any father who has ever accidentally lost a beloved toy will identify with this hilarious tale of how frustrating the parent-baby language gap can be. A dad leaves his daughter’s “knuffle bunny” at the laundromat and his infant daughter struggles to find the words (any words) to make him go back. This is the first of a trilogy — the final title, Knuffle Bunny Free, will make even the toughest dad tear up at bedtime.

  • Owl Moon

    by Jane Yolen, illustrated by John Schoenherr

    Also available from:

    Yolen and Schoenherr turn a simple event — a father and daughter’s moonlight walk in the woods — into something poetic and profound in this Caldecott Medal-winning picture book. As they trudge through the snow, attempting to find a great horned owl by imitating its call, you get a wonderful sense of how the father is trying to pass along his own reverence and respect for nature to his child. A perfect camp-out read.

    Also available from:
  • Ten, Nine, Eight

    by Molly Bang

    A gorgeous bedtime counting book, perfect for fans of The Runaway Bunny or Good Night, Gorilla. As a father and daughter count down to bedtime — starting with the daughter’s ten toes, nine soft stuffed animal friends, and so on — you’ll find yourself taken with how skillfully Bang conveys the tenderness between the dad and his sleepy child through a few simple illustrations.

  • Daddy's Girl

    by Garrison Keillor, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser

    Fans of “A Prairie Home Companion” should find it hard to resist this warm-hearted board book by Garrison Keillor, in which a dad enthusiastically sings to his baby daughter about such underrated joys of life as changing diapers and eating bananas. The book comes with a CD of Keillor singing the songs himself, which, again, should delight devotees of Lake Wobegon.

  • The Daddy Mountain

    by Jules Feiffer

    In this picture book from Feiffer (perhaps best known as the illustrator of The Phantom Tollbooth), a little girl decides that her father is a veritable landmass, so she decides to climb him like a mountain. She starts at his legs and works her way up, up, up — passing along practical advice for climbing daddies as she goes — until she eventually reaches his summit, i.e. the head. Any dad who has ever doubled as their child’s jungle gym should appreciate this one.