A Father Like That

Overview

A boy knows all about fathers. He knows there are little things a father understands, like how to play checkers and when to bend the rules at bedtime. And he knows there are big things a father does, like banishing nightmares and spending special time with his son. Even if he doesn't have a father, a boy can imagine one just like that.

LeUyen Pham's tender drawings illustrate Charlotte Zolotow's timeless and timely appreciation of the special ...

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Overview

A boy knows all about fathers. He knows there are little things a father understands, like how to play checkers and when to bend the rules at bedtime. And he knows there are big things a father does, like banishing nightmares and spending special time with his son. Even if he doesn't have a father, a boy can imagine one just like that.

LeUyen Pham's tender drawings illustrate Charlotte Zolotow's timeless and timely appreciation of the special bond between fathers and sons.

A small boy tells his mother what he would like a father to be.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
In this book, Charlotte Zolotow once again handles a tricky issue with delicacy. A young boy whose father left before he was born declares that he knows exactly what a good father would be like. The illustrations bring to life the boy's description of a man who treats his son—and his mother—with love and respect and make it clear that the boy is describing the parent he wants and needs and has never had. He talks about a father who plays checkers, is tolerant about bedtime, sides with his son at parent conference time, and keeps his voice kind even when he is upset. The soft tones of the realistic illustrations make it clear that the mother recognizes how idealized this figure is. Wisely she makes no promises that such a father will emerge. Instead, she tells her son, "When you grow up, you can be a father like that yourself." This is an effective book but more suited to be used one on one. The issues of abandonment or parental behavior it raises are too volatile for a whole group read-aloud.
School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2
Zolotow's powerful story, first published in 1971 (HarperCollins), has been updated with Pham's realistic, mixed-media illustrations featuring African-American characters. In rhythmic text, a boy whose dad left before he was born talks about all of the things he would want his father to do and be if he were there. At the end, his mother tells him that she likes the man he describes, saying, "...in case he never comes...when you grow up, you can be a father like that yourself!" The narrative candidly conveys the child's situation and imagined scenarios and ends on a positive note. The text captures the hopes and wishes of all children for the perfect parent. The color-saturated paintings start on the endpapers with the boy's childlike drawings of his idealized father and come full circle with an illustration of him playing in the street with a parent-sized shadow of himself on a nearby building. The expressive artwork depicts the characters' emotions and the love they share. This offering will fill a need for parents and children in similar situations and could be a good jumping-off point for discussing these issues in counseling or classroom settings.-Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A fatherless boy tells his mom of the father he imagines. This dream father would help him with his homework, play checkers, read to him, tell him jokes and understand about being a boy. He would also do his share of housework and show consideration for his wife. Mom listens carefully, but can make no promises or give assurances that he will ever have that perfect dad. But she does tell him that he could be that wonderful father when he grows up. While ostensibly about father-and-son relationships, it is mother love that surrounds this child. Zolotow handles a delicate situation with compassion. There's no pie-in-the-sky happy ending, but there is abounding love and hope. Originally published in 1971, it certainly holds up a generation later. Pham's new illustrations flow across each two-page spread and beautifully capture the spirit of the text. In addition, endpapers depict crayon drawings of scenes of the boy and his father as if the boy drew them himself. Warm and tender. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060278649
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/24/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Charlotte Zolotow—author, editor, publisher, and educator—has one of the most distinguished reputations in the field of children's literature. She has written more than seventy books, many of which are picture-book classics, such as Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present and William's Doll. She lives in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.

LeUyen Pham is an avid baker herself. Her favorite cake to make is tourteau fromager, or French cheesecake (though she still hasn't mastered it yet!). LeUyen is the author and illustrator of All the Things I Love About You and Big Sister, Little Sister. She has illustrated many other picture books, including the New York Times bestsellers Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio and Freckleface Strawberry by Julianne Moore. She lives with her husband and young cake-loving sons in San Francisco, California.

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