During these times of economic anxiety, foreign wars that have seen our sons and daughters confront danger abroad, and a culture that often seems to tear at the fabric of a healthy and happy family, Adam J. Roth provides us with a respite from the madness. It comes in the form of a children's book that should be read and enjoyed by families everywhere.
In Checking Up On Daddy, Roth shares with us the touching story of a ritual he and his wife repeat every night, upon his return home from work. Once Roth enters his house, his wife accompanies him with their little boy in her arms, chanting a song before handing over their son. If you have been there, you can build an image in your head -- your little boy or girl not having seen mommy or daddy all day, and the growing anticipation leading up to that first hug or kiss. Roth brilliantly captures this with the frenetic comedic energy of his early illustrations.
As the book proceeds, however, you're met by a more loving realism in the illustrations, emphasizing the act of putting the infant into the crib. It is in this part that you can tell why Roth put pen to paper. As he has said:
My son's love for books is testimony to how vital the ritual of family reading is in the fledgling years of child development. It is my hope that Checking up on Daddy will inspire parents to seize those passing yet vital moments with their children.
Roth's mentor -- a huge inspiration for and supporter of this book, Norman Bridwell--is the creator of Clifford The Big Red Dog (and don't think for a moment I don't hold him responsible for my being called that throughout pre-k and kindergarten!). Bridwell recognizes the special nature of his protégés work:
Adam Roth has written a book that is very important to family life in this hectic age. His love of his child is demonstrated by this story of a father who wants to race home to be with his little boy. It should be a book every new parent would share with their children. Many fathers don't have the opportunity to share quiet reading time with the family. Roth feels strongly about this aspect of family life.
His love of his son is very evident in this amusing story. In my own life, the time I spent sharing stories with my granddaughter is the most special time of my life. Buy this book and share with your children while you can. It will enrich your life beyond measure.
Checking Up On Daddy can't curb global warming or end bloodshed in Iraq, and it certainly won't solve long-term unemployment. But, especially in these times, it can serve to remind us that being progressive begins at home -- by being there for those who are ultimately most important to our lives. It will inspire you to put aside the superficial, and remember what it is that really makes life worth living. And, finally, it will provide hours upon hours of fun reading to your kids, grandkids or the kid down the street.
In other words, if you have young kids, buy this book! If you don't have kids, buy this book! The only thing you might regret is that we can't all live in Adam Roth's rich and colorful world every day of the week -- and twice on Sundays.