A day in the life of a young child and her working father is portrayed in Arpan V. Shah’s charming children’s picture book, Daddy Goes to Work.
The idea of parents “going to work” can be difficult to visualize and even harder to understand its necessity for young children. By demystifying the experience through these characters, the book normalizes what can be a difficult physical and emotional separation.
Meant for children ages 4 and under, the book uses short, simple words and sentences to tell the story of a young girl called Baby who spends time with her father before and after his work day. The girl’s single father changes her diaper, plays with her, eats breakfast, and gets dressed before leaving to go to his job, promising the girl that “Daddy always comes back!” While he’s at work, Baby is cared for by her Nana.
Illustrations show the father commuting via automobile and greeting co-workers at the office, as the girl eats lunch and sings songs with Nana. When the workday is done, parent and child happily reunite, playing, eating dinner, and going to bed. The art features bright colors and numerous fun details, from Daddy’s initial, inappropriate clothing selection for work—a summer tourist outfit—to the choice of book for the girl’s bedtime reading, a copy of Daddy Goes to Work.
In a note, the author offers suggestions on how to personalize the story, such as changing character names or genders to fit the reader’s personal situation. The book could easily serve as a prompt for office and non-office workers alike to explain to their children what they do all day.
There’s a minor redundancy in the use of quotation marks inside word balloons, but overall, the book’s presentation and design are excellent. Daddy Goes to Work has an upbeat tone that will help ease children’s anxiety with their daily separation from their fathers on workdays.
Also available as an ebook.