And it's a lucky child that knows its own father. Sam is such a child.
He introduces us to his whole family, Mum, brother Leon, and Dad, and tells us about the things he does with his Dad.
They’re simple things—the stuff of a blessedly ordinary childhood.
Things like jumping in puddles, biking, play fights, and made up stories.
As he shares his life, we see the love and admiration Sam has for Dad but even more, we see the love Dad has for his family. Sam is just talking about life—he’s not expounding or proving anything. But the moments he shares convey love and respect in the midst of a very real family.
Here are some of the simple joys and pleasures that Sam shares:
The joy of security. Sam has no doubts about Dad’s love and constancy. When Sam has listened to Grandma’s recordings of stories a little too long and “Dad has had enough. He gets angry and tells me to turn Grandma off.” But Sam isn’t worried or scared—he knows Dad’s not really angry—just sick of the sound of Grandma’s voice. Funny!
The joy of time spent together doing mundane tasks. The busyness of life means that adults sometimes try to hurry past life’s more routine moments. Sam’s dad is like that too. Sam says, “Dad is always in a hurry.” But in the midst of a busy life Dad is walking Sam ('Samuel' when he's slow!) to school, they’re carrying groceries home from the store, and doing everyday things like reading, sleeping, playing make-believe.
Those mundane moments make up the fabric of most lives and they’re what most solidly cements love, especially between parents and children.
The joy of exploring. Sam and his Dad explore their local park, a nearby farm and their city.
These explorations are wonderful for Sam—he loves them—but that’s only because he knows he has his Dad to stand with him and protect him if need be. Bravery is learned and practiced best with a safety net.
The joy of wide-ranging feelings. Sam pretends to be frightened when he’s playing "the wolf and the little pig" with his dad.
That’s because it’s so much fun to be frightened when you’re also secure. He screams when Dad holds him high, he feels genuine frustration with little brother Leon—all in the context of a home where he is safe and loved. Playing with emotions is so important for emotional resilience. It's a bit like role-playing for life. Sam gets to experience the feeling without the fear. So good for times when the feeling is real and fear is inevitable.
This is such a sweet and heartwarming book—it would make a wonderful present for a new father, partly because there's such realism in Sam’s life. Dad is busy and engaged with his family, while at the same time sleeping through the family holiday. He’s playful and active as well as being completely ordinary. He goofs around with the kids till Mum is terrified.
He begins the night sleeping with just mum and ends up with two little boys between them and half falling out of the bed. Completely normal.
The other reason Sam And His Dad is a wonderful gift book for fathers is because it affirms the special place a dad has in his child’s heart. Sometimes dads need to be reminded of just how significant they are and the value of the simple everyday things they do.