THE AUTHOR: Walter Wally, illustrated by Judith Bicking
I sometimes worry that my love of books in general, and of children’s books in particular, will make my readers question my objectivity. I wonder if I’ll recognize a poor book when I finally see it? Well, I’ll worry no longer, for I’m afraid that I’m unwilling to recommend this book for anyone to purchase or to read.
Walter Wally’s rhyming bedtime story receives only 2 tiaras out of 5. My sense of “smell” is apparently intact!
In the story, the father, dressed in a suit and tie, leaves the house and immediately climbs a tree in his nice work clothes to rescue a kitten. Although the story is filled with such sweet rescues and hot air balloons that take the father into outer space where he tickles planets to make them happy, it is just too outlandish for my taste.
But I will say that the illustrations drawn by Judith Bicking are colorful and attractive. I do love the picture of the planet that is featured on one full page, but even then I have my reservations. Let me explain.
Through this story, Walter Wally shows his young son that, despite missing an entire day’s work because of such antics, he thought of his son all day long, just wanting to get home and tuck him in bed. One wishes he might have gone home in time to play with his son for a while, to eat dinner together, to participate in bath time with him, to read him a story (hopefully better than this one), and then to tuck him in.
All of that, however, would have required much more rhyming than I think Mr. Wally was ready to handle.
I must have read literally thousands of children’s books, and this one really turns me off. This has a father who lives in la-la land rather than on planet Earth with the rest of us. He leaves his car sitting somewhere when something very unusual happens to him, yet he runs home at the end of the book so anxious to see his son that his car is left sitting wherever he left it that morning.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand the need for imagination. But this book used it in such a fashion that I believe the young child for whom it was written will be greatly confused, and will not really be able to follow the story. I guess you can say that when a book hits me the wrong way, which doesn’t happen too very often, it just splats on the sidewalk and dies a quick, merciful death.
I believe the father in this story was entertaining himself more than his child. The son that he hurries home to see looks to be around 3 years old. Near the end of the story, the father amazingly hits a home run in a baseball game. I realize that fathers always want to be a hero in their children’s eyes, but I very seriously doubt that his little boy has the slightest idea what a home run is. The father was just giving himself a thrill.
The best part of “What Daddy Did Today” was the illustrations. They are vibrant and colorful, but even though my favorite page in the book was the smiling planet, I have always genuinely hated when inanimate objects are given faces. But this author’s writing made it necessary to do so, and the artist complied beautifully.
Without a doubt in my mind, I would tell you not to waste your money on this book. There are just too many great children’s bedtime stories out there to spend any time on this one. I am going to use my own imagination to forget that I ever read it, or knew anything about it, and I suggest that you do the same.
Blessings, and better luck next time!
Buice, a Carrollton resident, writes a weekly book review for the Times-Georgian. anitabook.com