Gator Dad – PPBF & Book Giveaway!

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gatorTitle: Gator Dad

Author & Illustrator: Brian Lies

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, May 2016

Themes: Father/child relationships, alligators

Ages: 3-5


Come on—let’s go.                                                                                                               Let’s squeeze the day!


During a day of typical tasks such as breakfast and grocery shopping to more fun kid-focused activities like a romp at the playground and fort-building back home, a loving and imaginative gator dad shows his three gator kids that whatever they’re up to when they do stuff with dad a fun time will be had.

pillow fort in process

pillow fort in process ©Brian Lies

Pillow Fort ©Brian Lies

Pillow Fort ©Brian Lies

Why I like this book:

This high energy loving gator day squeezes every ounce of fun from each activity with his three kids. It is full of heart and humor and demonstrates that when a dad’s attitude is right and he’s focused on having a day where he’s fully present in his three children’s lives, they get to connect with their father in so many special ways. The illustrations bounce with vibrant colors, energy and imagination as Gator Dad knows how to inspire the story of a grand day together.

Every spread is an active “I love you,” of a dad fully involved in his kids’ lives. Look at the activities this group enjoys. Wild, yes?! Obviously the humor of Brian choosing one of the scariest reptiles out there to represent this loving family will not be lost on kid readers!


This would be a wonderful read aloud book for new or expectant dads, Father’s Day, or just to share with a favorite dad(s) and dad-figures!

Make a pillow fort!

Check out the interview I had with the author/illustrator this week.

Enter the giveaway to win a signed copy of GATOR DAD! (Sorry, North American addresses only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

Edited, May 22nd, to add the winner of the giveaway was Chelanne from 

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41 Responses to Gator Dad – PPBF & Book Giveaway!

  1. I cannot remember ever laughing with my dad. Sad, I suppose. The funniest thing with my husband/kids probably was when he was picking them up from school one day. He had our new puppy on his lap. During the drive home, the puppy peed all over my husband. The kids thought it was the funniest thing.

    • Joanna says:

      OMyGosh, puppying peeing one dad’s lap has to be a story worth repeating every year! And I am sorry that your own dad memories aren’t. Your hubby clearly is a swell dad!

  2. Dow Phumiruk says:

    My uncle had us all act in a home movie project that was a spoof of James Bond. My dad sported a long white mustache and played the villain. In his scene, he was at his desk, back to us, and then slowly spun around to talk to the camera, petting our cat on his lap. He ended the scene with a villainous laugh. I’d never seen him perform like that!

    • Joanna says:

      I love how they can surprise us like that, Dow. And how cool that your uncle was involved in this memory. i sadly had no contact with extended family growing up.

  3. What a joyful cover, especially the little gator on his dad’s shoulders. I love “let’s squeeze the day.” Perfect opening that sets the tone of the book. Made me think of Robin Williams’ “let’s seize the day,” from the movie “Dead Poet’s Society”. I like the feeling of the father’s abandonment and his focus on being very present with his children. Great recommendation!
    My dad played hardball, Frisbee, with me and my brother every night after work. He took us to the best sledding hills, ice skating and built snow forts in the winter. I have many fond memories of my young father.

  4. My favorite activity with my Astrophysicist dad was spending time wondering what life was like on other planets. We wondered if aliens celebrated birthdays, got married, or sent their kids to school. We wondered if they went shopping for clothing, how they greeted friends, and if they had telephones or went on vacations. Although our conversation doesn’t sound like a funny time I spent with my dad, the answers we came up to our questions often had us laughing.

    • Joanna says:

      Well to me this does sound super fun, and tapping into your dad’s scientific knowledge AND all your imaginations. Very cool.

  5. The gators look as cute as Brian’s bats! This looks like such a fun story–look forward to reading it! Congrats again to Brian & thank you, Joanna 🙂

  6. Patricia Nozell says:

    This looks like such a fun story & just in time for Father’s Day. I agree – a brilliant move to make such a toothy animal a perfect dad!

  7. Patricia Nozell says:

    As for funny times with Dad, can’t think of one in particular, but some of the many vegetables we grew did end up rather funny-looking.

  8. I loved going on all kinds of adventures with my dad. He had so many interests that each adventure was something completely different.

    We own Brian Lie’s Bats in the Band… we’ll have to check this one out!

  9. Andrea Mack says:

    This book looks wonderful! A fun & creative concept!

  10. My father would joke about just about anything, but one hilarious incident involved draping a huge empty (cleaned) lobster claw with a checked napkin and sticking a cigarette in it’s “mouth”! Looked like a sheik with a big nose!

    • Joanna says:

      You describe this so well I’m laughing at my screen. Kids just love to laugh and having a dad who will join in with this humor is precious!

  11. Love love love the illustrations! Well done, Brian!

  12. Barb says:

    Sounds like a fun book! I’m thinking my son and grandson would get a kick out of it.

  13. Jane Healy says:

    This looks perfect for dads and kids to read together!

  14. Manju Howard says:

    Great father’s day book. My dad loved to travel. We traveled by train through Europe.

    • Joanna says:

      Oh, Manju, what a treasure of fun and memories that must have been! My Dad also shared his love of travel and other cultures with me. I count it a big part of my inheritance.

  15. Wendy Greenley says:

    My dad was killed when I was very young. I remember him giving me a book, which I still have, so perhaps that’s why I love them so much.

  16. Joanna says:

    Wendy, I am so sorry you lost your dad so young, and thanks for sharing his precious gift with you.

  17. Jilanne Hoffmann says:

    I am dying to get my hands on this book! This is soooo my husband and son. Love it!

  18. Sara Yates says:

    I’m a mom with four kids of my own now, but still have a blast with my dad whenever we get together! Some of my happiest moments with him have been while watching him play the same games/activities with my children that he played with my sister and I! 🙂 PS- love Brian’s books… thanks for the great giveaway!

  19. A Jimenez says:

    I grew up in a household where dad was absent. Barely remember him but I have a couple of memories: going to my favorite store to buy a doll and dad tickling me. Now I am married to a wonderful man and have a daughter that loves to enjoy the outdoors with him. Fishing, archery, kayaking, gardening, you name it 🙂
    My daughter is a fan of your Bat books Brian!

  20. Emily Wayne says:

    My favorite memories with my dad are the nights my mom would go out to meetings and he would let me stay up late and watch TV with him. The Munsters at 8, I Dream of Jeannie (my FAVORITE) at 8:30, and if I was really good, Happy Days at 9.

  21. I have many fond memories of my dad and no “one funniest” memory stands out. One of the things I loved about him was that he could fix and/or build just about anything. I was the only kid I knew who was using power tools in the third grade. He was even building an airplane in our basement for several years. Not a model — a one-seater Pitts Special biplane. None of my friends believed me until I showed them.

    • Joanna says:

      Heather, über cool. I built a cart on wheels with my dad while I was in elementary school, but am pretty sure he would only let me use hand tools! A basement airplane is worth writing into a middle grade novel.

  22. That kind of living room fort brings back so many memories!!!

  23. Amanda Sincavage says:

    This book looks wonderful! I remember long bike rides with my dad and afterwards stopping for ice cream at an old-timey parlor.

  24. Joanna says:

    The winner of the giveaway was Chelanne from

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