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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Divorce Doesn't Mean Bad

Dad and Pop: An Ode to Fathers & Stepfathers by Kelly Bennett, illustrated by Paul Meisel

Okay, I'll admit it: I have a soft spot for this book. Not only does it resemble my family and the way I grew up, but it's also one of the few books I've found about divorce (indirect though it may be) that shows it doesn't have to be bad. Sometimes things don't work out the way we plan, but it can mean good things in the end, like a bigger family with more people to love.

It also helps that the main character has red hair. Yes, you got it out of me: I'm a carrot top.

Bennett writes from the perspective of a little girl who has two fathers via divorce, but unlike the usual "dealing with divorce" books, hers is positive and upbeat. It's a message for kids with stepparents about the importance of family, and it focuses on the greatness behind personal differences.

Meisel's colorful watercolor illustrations are a great match for Bennett's text, and they keep the comparisons between "Dad" and "Pop" fun and light. Each set of facing pages depicts the two fathers, one on each side, in a different activity with their daughter. One parent likes to ride his bike (a mountain bicycle); the other one does too (a motorcycle)!

Short sentences in large, bold-faced print are easy to read and see. Though there is no real plot to follow, the message is clear and very sweet. It's a great choice when talking about family and change, and while it won't work well in a large group, a one-on-one session might do the trick.

Recommended for young children with multiple sets of parents--it's okay to have more than the traditional two, and it's more than okay to love them all!

(As a personal aside, thanks to all of my wonderful, loving parents for being just the way they are. Okay, I'm done being mushy now, I promise.)

Age 4-7
Published April 2010
ISBN: 9780763633790
Image from www.booksofwonder.com

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