Review: A Baby’s Guide to Surviving Dad by Benjamin Bird and Tiago Americo

A survival guide that works both ways.

Publication date: 1st February 2016
Publisher: Capstone

A Baby’s Guide to Surviving Dad  is an amusing work, which has the air of the picture book parody, but with the ability to appeal to the child reader in a unique way. The book is structured around ‘lessons’ that a baby needs to teach their dad, in order to ensure survival. These lessons are instructive, whilst simultaneously hilarious and highly inventive.

What makes the book seem like its intended reader is an adult one, is that the child protagonist – the baby – is too young to understand the humour of the book, and an older child might not find it entertaining as they stop needing nappies changed or putting things in their mouths. The only reader who will definitely enjoy the irony of the narrator’s advice for ‘training Dad’ is an adult. That said, it’s a simple book with an entertaining premise and solid execution, so I am sure it will appeal to children

I found Americo’s illustrations endearing. They have a cartoon-like quality which gives them a crisp clarity. They complement the text perfectly and really bring the book to life. The characters stand out and the reader feels close to them as a result. The entire book looks a little like an instructional YouTube video, which gives it that vibrant edge.

I would recommend this book first and foremost as a present to new fathers. It finds the right balance between the hectic nature of taking care of a baby, and the fear of doing it wrong. For children, I think it falls into quite a narrow age group – those just starting to outgrow ‘babyhood’. It can also make a reappearance at the birth of a sibling, where the child can observe a real life Baby in all their glory. I look forward to the ‘Mom’ version.


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