21 picture books all about Dad in honor of Father's Day

Lisa Tolin

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Sure, you could give dad a tie. Or some golf balls, or grilling utensils, or whatever else dads seem to like.

But why not give him the joy of snuggling close for a read with his children? Picture books singing dad’s praises give him an intimate moment with his child, a love song across generations. (Or, some burp jokes. There are lots of those, too.)

Here are 21 books that are the perfect gift ideas for Father's Day.

1. "Cave Dada," by Brandon Reese

"Cave Dada," by Brandon Reese

"Cave Dada," by Brandon Reiss (Amazon / Amazon)
  • "Cave Dada," by Brandon Reese $12.79 at Amazon
  • "Cave Dada," by Brandon Reese $13.87 at Walmart
  • "Cave Dada," by Brandon Reese $15.63 at Bookshop

In this prehistoric bedtime story, big, strong Cave Dada is no match for the cry of his baba. Baba wants another book. (Even if that book isn't exactly a paperback.)

2. "Hike," by Pete Oswald

"Hike," by Pete Oswald

This nearly wordless picture book celebrates the bonding ritual of a father-child hike.

3. "Hair Love," by Matthew A. Cherry and Vashti Harrison

"Hair Love," by Matthew A. Cherry and Vashti Harrison

"Hair Love," by Matthew A. Cherry and Vashti Harrison (Amazon / Amazon)
  • "Hair Love," by Matthew A. Cherry and Vashti Harrison $10.96 at Amazon
  • "Hair Love," by Matthew A. Cherry and Vashti Harrison $10.96 at Walmart
  • "Hair Love," by Matthew A. Cherry and Vashti Harrison $15.65 at Books A Million

Zuri's hair lets her have superpowers, but she'll need Daddy's help to get ready for a special day. A short feature film of the story was funded by a Kickstarter campaign seeking more diversity and hair love in animation.

4. "Dandy," by Ame Dyckman and Charles Santoso

"Dandy," by Ame Dyckman and Charles Santoso

Dandy (Amazon / Amazon)
  • "Dandy," by Ame Dyckman and Charles Santoso $12.73 at Amazon
  • "Dandy," by Ame Dyckman and Charles Santoso $9.99 at Apple Books

Daddy's lawn is perfect until a pesky dandelion appears and his daughter gets attached. In this funny tribute to a father's love, Daddy may need to change his idea of perfection.

5. "A Father's Love," by Hannah Holt and Yee Von Chan

"A Father's Love," by Hannah Holt and Yee Von Chan

"A Father's Love," by Hannah Holt and Yee Von Chan (Amazon / Amazon)
  • "A Father's Love," by Hannah Holt and Yee Von Chan $12.75 at Amazon
  • "A Father's Love," by Hannah Holt and Yee Von Chan $13.91 at Walmart
  • "A Father's Love," by Hannah Holt and Yee Von Chan $10.99 at Apple Books

Fathers come in all stripes in this rhyming book about fathers in the animal kingdom. They all share love for their babies.

6. "Daddy-Sitting," by Eve Coy

"Daddy-Sitting," by Eve Coy

"Daddy-Sitting," by Eve Coy (Amazon / Amazon)
  • "Daddy-Sitting," by Eve Coy $12.77 at Amazon
  • "Daddy-Sitting," by Eve Coy $14.36 at Walmart
  • "Daddy-Sitting," by Eve Coy $16.55 at Bookshop

Daddy needs lots of exercise (and a little rest) in this sweet role-reversal. Taking care of Dad isn't always easy.

7. "Friday Night Wrestlefest," by J.F. Fox and Micah Player

"Friday Night Wrestlefest," by J.F. Fox and Micah Player

"Friday Night Wrestlefest," by J.F. Fox and Micah Player (Amazon / Amazon)
  • "Friday Night Wrestlefest," by J.F. Fox and Micah Player $12.79 at Amazon
  • "Friday Night Wrestlefest," by J.F. Fox and Micah Player $17.49 at Walmart
  • "Friday Night Wrestlefest," by J.F. Fox and Micah Player $16.54 at Bookshop

It's Friday night and Dad is the star of the main event — a tag-team match against the kids before bedtime.

8. "Lion Needs a Haircut," by Hyewon Yum

"Lion Needs a Haircut," by Hyewon Yum

"Lion Needs a Haircut," by Hyewon Yum (Amazon / Amazon)
  • "Lion Needs a Haircut," by Hyewon Yum $15.91 at Amazon
  • "Lion Needs a Haircut," by Hyewon Yum $16.99 at Books A Million
  • "Lion Needs a Haircut," by Hyewon Yum $15.63 at Bookshop

Dad is ready to reassure little lion about getting a haircut — and little lion is ready to do the same for Dad.

9. "Pet Dad," by Elanna Allen

"Pet Dad," by Elanna Allen

"Pet Dad," by Elanna Allen (Amazon / Amazon)
  • "Pet Dad," by Elanna Allen $10.62 at Amazon
  • "Pet Dad," by Elanna Allen $13.69 at Walmart
  • "Pet Dad," by Elanna Allen $9.99 at Apple Books

Dad does not want a pet, so Plum gets the only pet she can: Dad. He’s lots of fun, but the training is more complicated than she expected.

10. "Dad By My Side," by Soosh

"Dad By My Side," by Soosh

"Dad By My Side," by Soosh (Amazon / Amazon)

With Dad by her side, this little girl can do anything. Tender illustrations show the special relationship between father and daughter.

Related: These page-turners will make kids want to read all summer

11. "Your Baby's First Word Will Be DADA," by Jimmy Fallon

"Your Baby's First Word Will Be DADA," by Jimmy Fallon and Miguel Ordóñez

"Your Baby's First Word Will Be DADA," by Jimmy Fallon and Miguel Ord??ez (Amazon / Amazon)
  • "Your Baby's First Word Will Be DADA," by Jimmy Fallon and Miguel Ordóñez $5.00 at Amazon
  • "Your Baby's First Word Will Be DADA," by Jimmy Fallon and Miguel Ordóñez $7.89 at Walmart
  • "Your Baby's First Word Will Be DADA," by Jimmy Fallon and Miguel Ordóñez $7.99 at Books A Million

Join the whole animal kingdom in trying to get baby to say Dada in this debut from "The Tonight Show" host.

12. "My Papi Has a Motorcycle," by Isabel Quinteroand Zeke Peña

"My Papi Has a Motorcycle," by Isabel Quinteroand Zeke Peña

My Papi Has a Motorcycle (Amazon / Amazon)
  • "My Papi Has a Motorcycle," by Isabel Quinteroand Zeke Peña $11.69 at Amazon
  • "My Papi Has a Motorcycle," by Isabel Quinteroand Zeke Peña $10.99 at Apple Books

When Daisy Ramona soars across asphalt with her Papi, she feels his love and explores their changing neighborhood.

13. "My Dad Used to Be So Cool," by Keith Negley

"My Dad Used to Be So Cool," by Keith Negley

  • "My Dad Used to Be So Cool," by Keith Negley $13.49 at Amazon
  • "My Dad Used to Be So Cool," by Keith Negley $17.95 at Books A Million

What could possibly have made Dad give up rock bands and motorcycles? Don’t worry, Dad’s still cool to his son.

14. "Daddy, Papa and Me," by Leslea Newman, Carol Thompson

"Daddy, Papa and Me," by Leslea Newman, Carol Thompson

"Daddy, Papa and Me," by Leslea Newman, Carol Thompson (Amazon / Amazon)
  • "Daddy, Papa and Me," by Leslea Newman, Carol Thompson $6.99 at Amazon
  • "Daddy, Papa and Me," by Leslea Newman, Carol Thompson $7.99 at Books A Million
  • "Daddy, Papa and Me," by Leslea Newman, Carol Thompson $7.35 at Bookshop

Two dads means double the fun in this rhyming board book. Or check out these picture books that celebrate LGBTQ pride.

15. "Drawn Together," by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat

"Drawn Together," by Minh Lê and Dan Santat

  • "Drawn Together," by Minh Lê and Dan Santat $11.49 at Amazon
  • "Drawn Together," by Minh Lê and Dan Santat $13.90 at Walmart
  • "Drawn Together," by Minh Lê and Dan Santat $9.99 at Apple Books

This one is for grandpas. A boy and his grandfather have trouble bridging their language gap, until they find a new way to communicate beyond words.

16. "My Dad Is Amazing," by Sabrina Moyle, illustrated by Eunice Moyle

"My Dad Is Amazing," by Sabrina Moyle, illustrated by Eunice Moyle

"My Dad Is Amazing," by Sabrina Moyle, illustrated by Eunice Moyle (Amazon / Amazon)
  • "My Dad Is Amazing," by Sabrina Moyle, illustrated by Eunice Moyle $6.49 at Amazon
  • "My Dad Is Amazing," by Sabrina Moyle, illustrated by Eunice Moyle $22.16 at Walmart
  • "My Dad Is Amazing," by Sabrina Moyle, illustrated by Eunice Moyle $7.99 at Books A Million

Dad is tougher than a rhino wrestler and cuddlier than a ton of bunnies in this Technicolor board book for your littlest ones.

17. "If I Didn’t Have You," by Alan Katz, illustrated by Chris Robertson

"If I Didn't Have You," by Alan Katz and Chris Robertson

"If I Didn't Have You," by Alan Katz and Chris Robertson (Amazon / Amazon)
  • "If I Didn't Have You," by Alan Katz and Chris Robertson $13.81 at Amazon
  • "If I Didn't Have You," by Alan Katz and Chris Robertson $4.99 at Walmart
  • "If I Didn't Have You," by Alan Katz and Chris Robertson $17.99 at Books A Million

What could a father and child do without each other? They entertain ideas of staying up late and using the child’s room for a personal butler, but each knows they’d rather have each other.

18. "Daddy Depot," by Chana Stiefel and Andy Snair

"Daddy Depot," by Chana Stiefel and Andy Snair

"Daddy Depot," by Chana Stiefel and Andy Snair (Amazon / Amazon)
  • "Daddy Depot," by Chana Stiefel and Andy Snair $10.41 at Amazon
  • "Daddy Depot," by Chana Stiefel and Andy Snair $4.49 at Walmart

When Lizzie sees an ad for Daddy Depot, she thinks she can find the dad of her dreams, but discovers the model she has isn't so bad.

19. "Lawrence in the Fall," by Matthew Farina and Doug Salati

"Lawrence in the Fall," by Matthew Farina and Georg Hallensleben

"Lawrence in the Fall," by Matthew Farina and Georg Hallensleben (Amazon / Amazon)
  • "Lawrence in the Fall," by Matthew Farina and Georg Hallensleben $11.79 at Amazon
  • "Lawrence in the Fall," by Matthew Farina and Georg Hallensleben $13.70 at Walmart
  • "Lawrence in the Fall," by Matthew Farina and Georg Hallensleben $16.99 at Books A Million

Lawrence doesn't know what to share for show-and-tell, but Papa has just the answer.

20. "Tell Me a Tattoo Story," by Alison McGhee, illustrated by Eliza Wheeler

"Tell Me a Tattoo Story," by Alison McGhee and Eliza Wheeler

  • "Tell Me a Tattoo Story," by Alison McGhee and Eliza Wheeler $11.79 at Amazon
  • "Tell Me a Tattoo Story," by Alison McGhee and Eliza Wheeler $13.69 at Walmart
  • "Tell Me a Tattoo Story," by Alison McGhee and Eliza Wheeler $7.29 at Books A Million

This tattooed dad has touching stories behind his ink, indelible illustrations of his love.

21. "Be Glad Your Dad… Is Not an Octopus," by Matthew Logelin Sara Jensen, Jared Chapman

"Be Glad Your Dad...(Is Not an Octopus!)" by Matthew Logelin, Sara Jensen, Jared Chapman

"Be Glad Your Dad...(Is Not an Octopus!)" by Matthew Logelin, Sara Jensen, Jared Chapman (Amazon / Amazon)
  • "Be Glad Your Dad...(Is Not an Octopus!)" by Matthew Logelin, Sara Jensen, Jared Chapman $10.73 at Amazon
  • "Be Glad Your Dad...(Is Not an Octopus!)" by Matthew Logelin, Sara Jensen, Jared Chapman $13.81 at Walmart
  • "Be Glad Your Dad...(Is Not an Octopus!)" by Matthew Logelin, Sara Jensen, Jared Chapman $1.99 at Apple Books

Your dad might be perfect, but at least he’s not a dung beetle (who would pile poop in your room). This funny take on animal dads has fun animal facts for kids.

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