When Dad Showed Me the Universe by Ulf Stark

When Dad Showed Me the Universe by Ulf Stark
Publisher: Gecko Press
Genre: Childrens, Historical
Length: Short Story (32 pages)
Age Recommendation: 6+
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Tonight Dad wants to show Ulf something very special: the universe. Of course, they can’t possibly embark on such a daring adventure unprepared, so they wrap up warm, gather provisions, and then off they go. It’s a long walk, but eventually they get there. Along the way, they learn that sometimes the journey is more important than the destination, and sometimes the biggest lessons happen when you least expect them.

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I loved the fact that this was written so unmistakably in young Ulf’s perspective. A six-year-old’s understanding of the world can be a unique one. Ulf was old enough to comprehend some of the things his father was saying about the universe but still young enough to come up with his own whimsical interpretations of other moments. The combination of what he understood and what he didn’t made me smile. This genuinely felt like it was told by a young, impressionable child, and that was exactly what the plot needed.

The humor in this tale was handled beautifully. This wasn’t something I was expecting to find at all, so stumbling across it only made the storyline sweeter. Sometimes funny moments sneak up on a person when they least expect it. It was a great deal of fun to see that happen in a picture book that was otherwise about pretty serious topics.

Speaking of more serious subject matter, I was also impressed with how the father handled his son’s questions about what they were going out to see on their evening walk. He covered several complicated topics so smoothly that they seemed much easier to explain than they would be in real life. His excitement about astronomy and science in general was contagious. I’d sure like to read more stories about the places he took Ulf if the author ever decides to write about that.

I’d heartily recommend When Dad Showed Me the Universe to anyone who loves science or the way kids think.