‘My Dad Used to Be so Cool,’ by Keith Negley

After falling a little bit in love with the style and message of ‘Tough Guys (Have Feelings Too),’ I was delighted to be sent Keith Negley’s newest book to review  by the Guardian Book Club.

This book centres around a small boy’s suspicions that his dad may, at one time, have actually been quite cool.  Evidence is tucked away all over the house – the drum kit and guitar hidden the cupboard, the rusting motorbike for sale in the front yard, the punk rock pictures on the walls, and his dad’s tattoos.


However, the boy looks at his dad folding the laundry, doing the vacuuming and tying shoelaces and can’t help but think: “He seems pretty normal to me.”  Little did he know…

I love the way the dad’s poses in the illustrations cleverly reflect his life past and present – crouched down rocking out on stage and then folding washing.


The muted, almost vintage colour palette also gives a slightly nostalgic feel which adds to the feeling of ‘times gone by’ in the dad’s life.

What I love most of all is the celebratory feeling of the book – dad seems to be embracing his new role as a father and relishing every minute, as illustrated by the surprise double-page spread of father and son playing together at the park.

Just when the boy was starting to believe that perhaps his dad was quite cool after all, he goes and ruins it all (as many dads do!) by rocking out embarrassingly in the car on the way home.

Another fantastic publication from Flying Eye Books – a real tribute to all dads who are still cool at heart!  Including my dad, who was once cool back then and really still is now:



Love those shades!

Library Girl.

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