(Thank you to Thomas Nelson Publishers for providing this book for my review.)
Grade: A - All ages
My Little Girl is a picture book co-authored by country music star Tim McGraw and song writer Tom Douglas, and illustrated by Julia Denos. Also included is a forward by McGraw's wife, Faith Hill. The story is about a little girl, Katie, who is so excited because her dad told her they were going to spend the day together, just the two of them, and they would have a "spectacular day". Katie spends time preparing for any eventuality - a ball, a trip to Africa - and is ready with her boots and tiara. When daddy calls to her and tells her they are doing "nothing in particular", Katie is very upset. (The facial expression on this page is classic, I have seen this look hundreds of times from my three little girls) They begin their ordinary day, but pretty soon that nothing in particular day turns out to be wonderful.
The watercolor illustrations in this book are really quite wonderful, especially the color palette, and the adorable little girls face, you just want to pick her up and give her a big squeeze. And the hound dog, which follows daddy and daughter on all of their adventures, is posed so deliciously. It never seems like the illustrators get enough credit, when they are the ones who do the most work, and really set the feel of the book. The story is very sweet, and the message is a good one: that spending time with family is what counts, not what you do together. There is a space at the back of the book to write your own daddy and daughter special moments, and the beginning of the book has a place to write to and from and the date. This would be a good gift for fathers looking for something to buy for their daughters.
The only place I felt this book fell short was in the writing. It did not flow very well, and jumped from event to event with no lead-in. But, writing a children's picture book is different than writing song lyrics. I suppose that when you are writing a song there is less call for details and fleshing out of a story. The body and idea of the story were sound enough. My children did not love this book. They were excited to receive it, and looked through it, asking me to read it immediately. But they have not asked me to read it again, which I found rather surprising.