'Daddy Loves You' cover

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When Daddy’s home, you know what that means.

It means that though you love your Mama very much, time spent with Daddy is different. Daddy plays other games with you, the kind that Mommy doesn’t play, and they include running and jumping and swinging. Yes, you love your Papa a lot and in “Daddy Loves You!” by Helen Foster James, illustrated by Petra Brown, the feeling’s mutual.

You are Daddy’s “bunny-bear” and guess what? He loves you more than anything in the world, more than ice cream and sunshine.

When Daddy’s home, there’s lots to do; he shows you all kinds of great things, like digging holes and making umbrellas out of leaves and grass. Daddy loves to be with you and even when you get wild, maybe even a little out of hand; Daddy will protect you.

One thing to remember: never let go of his hand. Always stay where you can see him and you’ll see other things, too, like “ducks ... swimming on the lake and birds ... in the tree.” You’ll see water and grass and maybe flowers and butterflies, too. Daddy will show you the right path to take.

Does your Daddy make up games for you? Lucky kid! So who jumps higher or runs faster? Who swings around the most times until you both fall on the ground? That’s what you learn when Daddy plays with you. He also shows you how to build or make new things and how to fix old things until they’re better. When you’re with Daddy, he makes sure you “fill [your] days with fun.”

But that’s not all. Daddy tells you what you should remember forever. He shares secrets that you’ll want to know. “Do your best. Be bold and kind. Be all you want to be.” Always help others, and invite them to play. When it’s bedtime, don’t forget to ask him to read your favorite story out loud. Make sure you get your goodnight kiss. Always, always remember who calls you “snuggle bunny” and never forget who loves you.

Until somewhat recently, if you wanted a Mommy-and-Me type book, you were in luck: the shelves were full of them. As for books featuring fathers, well, there weren’t many then but that’s all changed. Now, you’ll find them, if you look.

“Daddy Loves You!” may be one of the sweetest.

Little hands will reach for this book because the cover is brightly colorful and irresistibly cute, and they’ll hold it tight because those illustrations by Petra Brown continue inside. There’s action on every page, but it’s very gentle and almost quiet, which allows this story to double nicely as an everyday read and a bedtime book. Kids will like it either way.

As for the Dad who might read this book to his little one, the illustrations are appealing but author Helen Foster James’ words speak to a father’s heart. There’s also room left in the back to leave a love letter, notes, and a photo, making “Daddy Loves You!” a keepsake filled with meaning.

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