Review: ‘My Dad Thinks He’s Funny’

Dad-jokes have, in recent times, grown a life of their own, to the point where the modern dad now deploys them with something approaching irony. Unlike our dads, of course, who gleefully wisecracked when we made the mistake of mentioning we were a little parched: “Hi Thirsty, I’m Fri-day”, or “Hi Thirsty, I’m Dad”.

So it was refreshing, then, to have Katrina Germein and Tom Jellett’s My Dad Thinks He’s Funny slide across The Dad Website’s desk recently (that is, it was a gift from a dad-mate, accompanying yet another bottle of booze, for my 40th birthday).

First published by Black Dog Books in 2010, the book – which was Highly Commended in the 2011 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards and short-listed for a string of other awards – is a charming ode to the vitality and necessary silliness that dads bring kids’ lives… and, in turn, kids to dads’ lives.

The dad-jokes? Well, they’re dad-jokes. So we’re not reinventing the wheel here. But My Dad Thinks He’s Funny‘s appeal lies in generous lashings of understated humour (“And when Dad says, ‘Time for a special announcement”, we leave the room fast, before it really starts to smell…’”) and Jellett’s striking illustrations, which include cute little elements such as the lead child’s four-stage eyeball roll in response to this hum-dinger: “And when we’re about to cut up a cake for dessert, Dad says: ‘Well there’s my piece. What’s everyone else having?’” (A similar reaction that I’ve seen countless times from my seven-year-old daughter.)

My Dad Thinks He’s Funny is perfect for bedtime reading with your kid – and for a secret private chuckle. Because, as many dads know, if you can’t laugh at yourself, no one else is going to.


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