Books for Young Readers to Celebrate Father’s Day, Part 2

06.22.11
Theme: Father's Day
“My Father is Taller than a Tree” by Joseph Bruchac; illustrations by Wendy Anderson Halperin

“My Father is Taller than a Tree” by Joseph Bruchac; illustrations by Wendy Anderson Halperin

06.22.11 • 11:55 pm EST | 0 responses |

“My Father is Taller than a Tree” by Joseph Bruchac; illustrations by Wendy Anderson Halperin

Hindsight, as they say is 20/20 and I have found that to be true as my girls have left the nest. While it is certain that they enthuse and reminisce about the trips to Disney, Italy, Hawaii etc., I notice with increasing interest, their quiet, reflective moments are saved for things their father and I barely took note of in the day-to- day frenzy that can become part of child rearing. Their special memories include small moments of private time with one parent or both, doing what appeared to us at the time, ordinary. As I think back, it could have been sleigh riding, making a fall scarecrow with jeans and straw stuffed in an old plaid shirt, making waffles on a Saturday morning, rolled up sock fights, (a game my husband invented), making each of the girls a sandwich with each as the filling with pillows serving as the bread, or “Bulldozer” : my husband as the machinery, pushing the girls off our bed with each of them fighting to stay on! It turned out not to be so ordinary for them. Tucked away in their adult minds is a tiny memory of a moment, or as a Jim Croce sang so lyrically, “Time in a Bottle.”

In “My Father is Taller than a Tree,” Mr. Bruchac creates thirteen individual father/son moments; each pairing unique, each experience enriching, satisfying and simple. If it is true that “example is the strongest teacher”, the author, I believe, hopes to inspire his readers to share these or any number of other experiences which, when accumulated sum up a childhood. At the very least, they become part of a child’s DNA of memories, remembered long after the event shared.

The pairing’s adventures include the rite of passage tutorial on riding a two wheeler, a son being taken into town by a sight impaired dad and the son proudly helping his dad about, a lunch counter sharing of food, a movie, and a bed time tale, with the narrative line, “He pats my back when I feel sad. He understands ‘cause he’s my dad,” to my next to the last favorite, “Pop doesn’t need to buy me stuff. Just to be with him is enough.” This kid definitely gets it and so does his dad. My favorite is “Papa reads to me every night until he says that’s all, sleep tight.”

The book ends on a quite prophetic note, like the Sondheim song, “Children Will Listen.” It also reminded me of the Harry Chapin song, “Cats in the Cradle” with a too busy father observing at the end in wonder,

 

“And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me,

He’d grown up just like me,

My boy was just like me.”

 

Mr. Bruchac ends his book on an optimistic note:

 

 

“When I grow up and have a kid we’ll do all that Dad and I did.”

 

Read this book with a son, grandson or a boy you love.  Moments resonate long after you both close the book.

 

 

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