Daddy Doesn't Have to Be a Giant Anymore

Daddy Doesn't Have to Be a Giant Anymore

by Jane Resh Thomas, Marcia Sewall

Told from the daughter's point of view, this is the poignant, authentic story of a family's battle with a father's alcoholism.  See more details below


Told from the daughter's point of view, this is the poignant, authentic story of a family's battle with a father's alcoholism.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Although you wouldn't know it from either the title or the cover illustration, this booklike Richard Langsen's and Nicole Rubel's When Someone in the Family Drinks Too Much (Children's Forecasts, June 17)tackles the subject of a parent's alcoholism and its impact on children. Where Langsen and Rubel offer a comprehensive discussion and take a bracingly candid approach, Resh and Sewall (previously paired for Saying Goodbye to Grandma), focus more narrowly and more softly, describing one family's struggles from a young daughter's point of view. As long as Daddy doesn't sneak into the garage to drink whiskey, he's good companythe narrator recalls rocking on the porch swing, gardening together and going on family outings to the park. But he's downright scary when he's drinking and starts acting "like an angry giant." After a painful summer, Mommy convenes friends and family (the narrator included) and they hold an intervention, successfully convincing Daddy to seek treatment. Thomas probes the girl's tangle of feelings gracefully and sensitively; Sewall's equally graceful watercolors, with their slightly smudged lines and cheerful palette, help take the edge off the grim subject while implicitly reminding readers that alcoholism strikes "normal" families too. Ages 5-9. (Aug.)
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-A little girl tells readers about the fun she has with her father, who sings songs and takes her on picnics. But when he sneaks into the garage to drink whiskey, he turns into a frightening giant. This summer, her mother, too, is angry every day, and every night she hears her parents yell at one another. Early one morning, Daddy's mother, brother, and boss come over to help her mother confront him with some unpleasant events that his drinking has caused. These stories are interpreted by the narrator, who adds her own remembrances and fears. The meeting convinces the man to enter a treatment program. The impressionistic quality of the pen-and-ink, watercolor, and pastel drawings helps to dilute the emotional impact of the situation while remaining faithful to the story. This title delves a little more deeply into the disruption of a child's life by an alcoholic parent than Niki Daly's My Dad (S & S, 1995) and has a more hopeful ending than Judith Vigna's I Wish Daddy Didn't Drink So Much (Albert Whitman, 1988).-Martha Gordon, formerly at South Salem Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews
When Daddy is "acting like a giant," he hides whiskey bottles, sneaks off to get drunk, skips work, argues with Mommy late into the night, and terrifies his daughter. ("When he bent down and shook me, he was bigger than a house.") A turning point is reached when friends and family gather to confront Daddy with his deficiencies as a brother, son, employee, husband, and father. Feeling "small as an ant," the daughter (who narrates) listens to accounts of Daddy's bad behavior and irresponsibility, including driving drunk with her in the car ("We almost skidded into the ditch"). Her chastened father enters treatment, and when he returns they dispose of his hidden whiskey bottles together. If this by the author of (Lights on the River, 1994, etc.) implies that children of alcoholic parents could (and maybe should) make such interventions themselves, it captures, with heartbreaking simplicity, their confusion and unspeakable sorrow. Sewall's illustrations show the little girl's unhappiness all too well.

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Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
7.35(w) x 9.35(h) x 0.42(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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