Sometimes written from the child’s perspective and sometimes a father’s, we meet a wide range of dads in the fifty poems in this dictionary, more than one for each letter of the alphabet. There are playful, scary and even angrily exploding dads. There are stay at home and working dads, storytelling and sleepy dads, falling asleep to a lullaby or competing in a ‘synchronised snoring’ competition with the baby.
There’s a military feel in Cadet Dad (about a soon-to-be father) revisited in Sergeant Major Dad who lays down the law: ‘do as I say not as I do’ with a call and response marching drill. The idea of a father with the same old sayings is repeated in Jukebox Dad.
There is a range of mood here from comical verses such as Daddy Disaster to the wistful Iron Dad, whose children yearn for a hug. Loneliness is explored in Prison Dad ‘the only time I feel close to you is in these rhymes’. Different families are represented, with older fathers, single parents, families with two dads, even animal dads. It is good to see a single mum applauded in Mum-Dad. Step-Dad recognises relationships can be measured in books read and footballs kicked not just genes shared. There is reassurance for readers who have experienced family break up in Faraway Dad ‘It isn’t you who he has left.’ Refugee Dad offers insight into the motivation of a refugee father, giving everything to build a new life for their child.
The collection contains a range of poetry formats, including list poems, kennings, nursery rhyme, acrostic, riddle and lullaby. The writer is a performance poet and it is easy to see that a number of these poems would be fun to perform. Simple and amusing line drawings add to the light-hearted feel.
A collection to enjoy which gives plenty to think about that will resonate with many children and fathers everywhere too.