Candlewick Press, $15.99, 57 pages
Slog’s Dad is a children’s book by David Almond, illustrated by Dave McKean, and narrated by Davie, Slog’s best friend. Davie describes Slog’s dad as an optimistic binman who enjoys singing old hymns, smoking Woodbines, and spending time in the rose garden with his wife.
A tone of fear and slight repulsion seeps through the narration as Davie explains how Slog’s dad becomes ill: “they can hack your body into a hundred bits,” says Slog’s dad, “but they can’t hack your soul”. This statement is revisited after his death when Slog claims that the haggard man who sits outside Myers’ is his father, who has come back to visit. Davie is skeptical, but is ultimately left with the same question as the reader: “Do you think there’s life after death?”
Aside from being beautifully crafted, McKean’s illustrations zoom in and out, depicting the enormity of the universe on one page and the intimate, personal pain of a young boy mourning the loss of his father on the next. This book is highly recommended for older elementary school students and parents who wish to discuss the idea of “life after death” with their children from an unbiased perspective.
Reviewed by Emily Davis