Is there anything a daddy wouldn’t do for his daughter?
Not much, as far as I can tell. A simple request is often all it takes for my husband, Dan, to shuffle his day around and be there for his girls.
“Daddy, will you take me to school?”
“Will you watch me at swim class, Daddy?”
“When will you be my mystery reader?”
Dan has donned tiaras and wrapped high ponytails. He’s worn burgundy nail polish on his toes for more than a month after an experimental “pedicure.” He even sported this unicorn costume last Halloween, to make our 4 year old’s dreams come true. (He succeeded.)
Dads also have passions and hobbies, preferences and pet peeves. And pretty high up on the priority list, you’ll generally find…
Our yard isn’t pristine or precious, by any means. But Dan keeps it looking its best. Come rain or shine… or snow in May (not cool, Chicago), he’s out back or out front. Walking the grounds. Pulling volunteers. Hacking back bushes. And mowing that grass.
To my daughter’s chagrin, we don’t see many dandelions in our square-o-green. To their delight, some home owners are less scrupulous…
My favorite color is yellow, so I get lots of *dandy* bouquets.
To children EVERYWHERE, dandelions are flowers - beautiful, bright, delightful. They sprinkle the ground like parade candy waiting to be plucked and savored.
To dads EVERYWHERE, dandelions are weeds - invasive, pervasive, menacing. They infect grass like a disease for which there is but one cure. (Scalpel!)
This is the premise of a new and, I would argue, perfect picture book called DANDY by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Charles Santoso (Little, Brown Young Readers, April 2019). The cover captures the eternal dilemma brilliantly, doncha think?
From the safety of his picture window, Daddy peers out and sees something downright scary. In the midst of his smooth, even, lime green grass is an unwanted guest. A dandelion. To Daddy, it’s a horror! To his daughter, Sweetie, it’s…
CHARLOTTE. Oh yes, this weed has a name. A classy, strong, upstanding name. Deserved? Not in Daddy’s book. Much as he adores his daughter Sweetie, he knows that weed has gotta go. With pressure from his neighbors, Daddy sets out to “take care of” Charlotte. But Sweetie is always there, protecting Charlotte with love.
When Sweetie leaves the house for swim class, Daddy finally gets his chance to put an end to Charlotte, before she releases her seeds into his perfect lawn. He has a last-minute change of heart, but it’s too late. Charlotte is hurt by mistake. Now it’s Daddy that’s destroyed. This spread made me laugh and cry and the same time. (Like I said, perfect picture book.)
You’ve gotta read how it ends. The final moment is so beautiful. Of course, I cried. Again. After all, what wouldn’t a Daddy do for his Sweetie? DANDY has it all. Charming setting. Sunny, funny characters. A tiny problem with massive consequences. And a love that knows no bounds. (Pssst! It could be a perfect gift for a daughter to share with her dad, this Father’s Day weekend!)
DANDY has certainly made an impact at our house. Our girls planted and wrapped up maple seed VICTORIA (Oh yes, this tree has a name) in love and an Arsenal soccer scarf. Just like their new friend, Sweetie.
Happy Father’s Day to dads everywhere, especially to my dad, Bill. Cruising with you on the red riding mower is one of my favorite childhood memories… and one I’m so glad my girls now get to share with you!
DANDY is by Ame Dyckman, the author of many books for children, including BOY + BOT, WOLFIE THE BUNNY, HORRIBLE BEAR!, YOU DON’T WANT A UNICORN, MISUNDERSTOOD SHARK and the WEE BEASTIES series, among others. Find them all HERE! DANDY’s pictures are by Charles Santoso, illustrator of THE SNURTCH, I DON’T LIKE KOALA, IDA, ALWAYS and PEANUT BUTTER & BRAINS. Check them out HERE!
One lucky reader will win DANDY, signed by Ame Dyckman! Visit Ame on Twitter at @AmeDyckman for all of the details!