Saturday, June 16, 2012

All Alone with Daddy by Joan Fassler illustrated by Dorothy Lake Gregory

Ellen's mom is going out of town. That means that Ellen is going to be all alone with her father. She's looking forward to taking care of him. She tries to be like her mother. She has a lot of fun and loves getting all of his attention. When her mom comes home, though, she's not sure how she feels about sharing Daddy again.

I came across this book in a thrift store, and I knew I wouldn't be leaving without it. It's apparently part of a series that looks at psychological issues through picture books ("Children's Series on Psychologically Relevant Themes"). It was originally published in 1969, which means that even aside from the subject matter I like looking at the illustrations of the fashions of the day. I've had it for a few years now, and I still don't even know what really to say about it. Ellen's feelings are presented as normal and no one tries to make her feel bad for having them. In fact, no one tries to do anything about them at all; she deals with them all on her own. It's hard to say whether or not her parents know anything about her feelings (although dressing herself up in her mom's clothes might have given her dad a clue, neither of them now about her dream where daughters marry their fathers and have children with them). The ending of the book is a bit too retro for me (Ellen deciding to grow up to be just like her mom and marry someone just like her Dad, complete with the image of her running towards a boy) but I do find this book to be a fascinating glimpse into so many things including child psychology, gender norms, and 1969.

Read it with: 
Billy and Our New Baby by Helen S. Arnstein
I Have Feelings by Terry Berger
Things I Hate by Harriet Wittels and Joan Griesman
The Man of the House by Joan Fassler 

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