When I was in third grade, my teacher read Not Again Dad! to the class. It was a new book at the time and Miss Taylor assured us that we would love it. We did love the book that she read it twice to us. The teacher in the following year, read the book to the class as well. I read the book a few times as a child too. I’m currently collecting all my favourite books, so I wanted to have Not Again Dad in my collection. It was difficult finding the book as it is no longer in print but I was lucky to find a copy in a thrift shop.
Not Again Dad! is an early reader chapter book. It’s about the Robert family and how they cope when the mother goes away for a conference. The Dad is an office worker who takes time off work to look after the children for three weeks. The mother is a homemaker who recently returned to the workforce. Paul is aged 11 who loves to play sports. He is the cricket captain and fastest swimmer in his class. His younger sister Juliet is learning to play the piano and how to dance ballet.
The children soon find that dad taking care of them is different to how their mother does it. The children have to walk to school by themselves instead of being driven. Paul learns that if he wants to wear clean school uniforms, he must put his clothes in the laundry to be washed. He learns this the hard way when he has nothing to wear. Juliet learns that she is capable of tying her own bow in her hair and keeping her shoes clean. Both Children have to make their own beds and wash the dishes after meals.
The children realize how much their mother did for them. At first they grumble at having to do chores but they both get better at doing things for themselves. Paul takes the longest time to adjust as he doesn’t think the fastest swimmer and cricket captain should do those things. He’d rather concentrate on his sports. Juliet is proud that she can tie her own hair ribbon and shine her shoes. He teacher commented on it and it made Juliet happy.
The dad unknowingly embarrasses Paul while taking him to his extracurricular activities. Paul is at the age where parents can be embarrassing. He tells his father that he can’t talk to his swim coach while the lesson is progressing nor should he talk to the mums along the sidelines. So the dad stops doing those things and becomes seemingly busy with other stuff. Paul then complains that the dad is not paying enough attention to him. A parent can’t win!
Juliet gets on better with her father but is upset that he always forgets to pick her up from ballet and piano. A mishap which leaves her almost bald causes Juliet to not talk to her father until he fixes things.
Despite the mishaps, the dad always tries to do things better. One thing the children love about him is his cooking. For a couple of nights, he cooks a stew he learnt to make in cub scouts when he was a boy. His children love the stew until he serves it almost every day, hence why the book is called Not Again Dad.
I hope I can read this book to my own class one day and that they will like the book. I think it has so many conversation points that I could discuss with them about home life. I think there are many families where one parent does most of the childrearing and domestic work. It’s not a bad thing at all and it is not the only way families work.
What I did get out of this book is that if I were to have children, I would like them to have chores. It would not only help our family but it will give children life skills needed when they are adults. While people can learn how to cook and clean when they are adults it would be easier for them if they already knew how to do those things.
I think this book is a good bedtime story book and something that children can read independently. The font is a good size and there are some pictures in the book. If you ever come across Not Again Dad! I recommend that you buy it. It’s a cute little book for children and it can be a nostalgia trip for adults.