Picture Book Analysis: Daddies Do It Different by Alan Lawrence Sitomer

In honor of rhyming Wednesday, I've decided to do a picture book analysis of a non-rhymer that has rhythm--so much so that it can be classified as poetry. And if you want to write something like this, you need to do it well, so let's see why I think this book is so great structurally.

Today's book is entitled, Daddies Do It Different by Alan Lawrence Sitomer.

SPOILER ALERT! My picture book analyses will reveal the climax/ending to every story. So be forewarned!

Genre: Journey, Cycle of the Day, Rhythmic text

Synopsis: A child relates all the things Daddy does differently than Mommy throughout the day but there's one thing they do exactly the same.

Plot elements: A Cycle of the Day story.

  • In the morning, getting dressed--ways Daddy is different from Mommy
  • breakfast time
  • going shopping
  • making lunch
  • going to the park
  • birthday parties
  • playing dress up
  • bath time
  • bed time
  • hugs and kisses
Twist: All through the book, Daddy does everything differently but in the end, Mommy and Daddy both love the child just the same. A touching, sweet ending! If you get your audience to say ah...usually, you'll have a winner.

Throughout the book, there is a repeating phrase of "But daddies do it different." Which binds the text together and children love to be able to join in this repeating phrase. Although this isn't a rhymer, the text is rhythmic: "When I leave the house with Mommy, she packs a tasty snack, brings a bit of juice, and takes an extra sweater." Can you feel the rhythm here? And then the next line leads into the repeating phrase: "But daddies do it different..."

Style Elements:

  • Lines have catchy beats.
  • visual humor throughout (in the scene above, daddy is putting bananas up his nose to make the child laugh.)
  • Use of active, interesting verbs: jingles, gargles, whup
  • Visually interesting--there's an active, fun picture on every page, (eg; Daddy has bubbles on his head in a room full of bubbles in the tub with the dog joining in the fun).
  • Use of made-up words for rhythm, (eg. "He tickles me so much, I get crazy-hyper-nuts")
  • Use of similes/metaphors, (eg, "we jump like kangaroos; make a fort of waffles, drives like a race car, etc.)
  • Sweet, twist ending
If you can think of a catchy repeating phrase and can do a rhythmic story line with lots of action on a subject that hasn't been done, you'll have a winning picture book every time. 

If you like these posts, feel free to click the like button below or tweet it to your friends. Next up, I will start back with Picture Book University, lesson 9. My school visit schedule is winding down--only two more to go this season, so stay tuned!


Tina Cho said...

Thanks, Pam, for sharing this rhythmic book without rhyme. Good lesson and reminder that we can still have rhythm without the rhyme.

Kaye Baillie said...

Thanks so much for this post, Pam. I really enjoyed reading about the nuts and bolts of this book.

Anonymous said...

I love Rhythm! Even without rhyme. And I love Dads! They do do things different. Thanks for the fun analysis.

Pam Calvert said...

Your welcome! I love to put rhythm in my stories, so when I came across this gem, I had to analyze it. ;-D And I agree. I love Dads!! This story nailed it.