The Daddy Machine

Valentine, Johnny (Author) and Schmidt, Lynette (Illustrator). (2004). The Daddy Machine. Los Angeles, CA: Alyson Wonderland.

In this whimsical rhyming picture book, two children decide to construct a machine to build a dad, since they often wonder what it’d be like to have their two mothers and a dad. But due to faulty wiring, their machine spits out dozens of dads who run the kids ragged and create a huge mess!

Luckily, the first dad is good with mechanics and helps them fix the machine, and all but the first two dads cheerfully step back into the machine to go back to parts unknown. Dads 1 and 2 decide to stay and rent the house next door, so now the children have their mothers and two new fatherly friends next door.

The Daddy Machine is busy and colorful and the rhymes are very fun. Children with same-gender parents will likely relate to having curiosity about an opposite-gender parent. I’m glad that by the end of the book, the children have realized that they like having two mothers just fine, and I’m also pleased that the dads have a diverse representation in terms of race, body type, and hobbies. No gender essentialism, here.

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About Charlie McNabb

Archivist, Folklorist, Librarian, Legend Tripper, and Queer Activist
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