In my part of the world, tomorrow is Father’s Day. In honour of that occasion, I have created my list of the top 7 dads from children’s books. Please share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments! Who is your favourite father from a kids’ book? Have I missed out on a great dad from children’s literature?
7. Father William (from the poem recited by Alice in her adventures in Wonderland)
He may have been old, but that didn’t mean he lacked wit:
“In my youth,” said his father, “I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life.”
– You Are Old, Father William – Lewis Carroll
6. The Gruffalo (from the book of the same name, and the gripping sequel, The Gruffalo’s Child)
That’s right, it turns out that the big, bad Gruffalo is a pretty good dad. He’s protective, but he’s still raising a kid who is adventurous and brave. He’s also a sweet reminder that sometimes the sound of daddy’s snores is the safest sound in the world:
The footprints led to the Gruffalo cave where the Gruffalo’s child was a bit less brave. The Gruffalo’s child was a bit less bored. And the Gruffalo snored… And snored, and snored.
– The Gruffalo’s Child
5. Mr Darling (father of Wendy, John and Michael of Peter Pan fame)
The book may have been about flying away to a magical land where there were no parents to deal with at all, but Mr Darling certainly loved his family:
Mrs Darling: There are many different kinds of bravery. There’s the bravery of thinking of others before one’s self. Now, your father has never brandished a sword nor fired a pistol, thank heavens. But he has made many sacrifices for his family, and put away many dreams.
Michael: Where did he put them?
Mrs Darling: He put them in a drawer. And sometimes, late at night, we take them out and admire them. But it gets harder and harder to close the drawer… He does. And that is why he is brave.
– Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie
4. Baloo the Bear (the loveable bear father-figure from The Jungle Book, you may remember him from the Disney adaptation)
Baloo the Bear helps a pack of wolves to raise Mowgli, a human boy, and teaches him the law of the jungle. He is a reminder that being a good father isn’t all about biology. One of his maxims says:
Oppress not the cubs of the stranger, but hail them as Sister and Brother,
For though they are little and fubsy, it may be the bear is their mother.
– The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling
3. Big Nutbrown Hare (from Guess How Much I Love You)
My husband actually thinks Big Nutbrown Hare is a bit of a jerk because he always has to one-up his son. I love this competitiveness because it reminds me of my own Dad and it’s clear that even though he always has to win, he has a great big heart of gold:
Big Nutbrown Hare settled Little Nutbrown Hare into his bed of leaves. He leaned over and kissed him good night. Then he lay down close by and whispered with a smile, “I love you right up to the moon – and back.”
– Guess How Much I Love You – Sam McBratney
2. Caractacus Pott (Jeremy and Jemima’s father, inventor of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang)
Aside from being a pretty awesome inventor, anyone who gives the following advice to his children has got to be an excellent dad:
Never say ‘no’ to adventures. Always say ‘yes,’ otherwise you’ll lead a very dull life.
– Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – Ian Fleming
1. William (Father of Danny the Champion of the World)
Through the eyes of Danny, William is “the most marvellous and exciting father any boy ever had.” Roald Dahl has crafted a truly special dad:
I was glad my father was an eye-smiler. It meant he never gave me a fake smile because it’s impossible to make your eyes twinkle if you aren’t feeling twinkly yourself. A mouth-smile is different. You can fake a mouth-smile any time you want, simply by moving your lips. I’ve also learned that a real mouth-smile always has an eye-smile to go with it. So watch out, I say, when someone smiles at you but his eyes stay the same. It’s sure to be a phony.
– Danny the Champion of the World – Roald Dahl
Happy Father’s Day!