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My Dad Used to Be So Cool

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Keith Negley's playful and emotional art tells this story of a new father who is no longer the cool guy he once was. He looks back wistfully on his crazy times playing in a band, riding a motorcycle, and getting tattoos. Those days may be behind him, but his young son still thinks he's the coolest guy in the world. Keith Negley is an award-winning editorial illustrator with Keith Negley's playful and emotional art tells this story of a new father who is no longer the cool guy he once was. He looks back wistfully on his crazy times playing in a band, riding a motorcycle, and getting tattoos. Those days may be behind him, but his young son still thinks he's the coolest guy in the world. Keith Negley is an award-winning editorial illustrator with a penchant for emotionally driven illustration. He's been published in a wide range of major newspapers and national magazines, and is a frequent contributor to the New York Times and New Yorker. He lives in the mountains of Bellingham, Washington, surrounded by rain forests and giant spiders. This is his second book for Flying Eye, following Tough Guys Have Feelings Too!


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Keith Negley's playful and emotional art tells this story of a new father who is no longer the cool guy he once was. He looks back wistfully on his crazy times playing in a band, riding a motorcycle, and getting tattoos. Those days may be behind him, but his young son still thinks he's the coolest guy in the world. Keith Negley is an award-winning editorial illustrator with Keith Negley's playful and emotional art tells this story of a new father who is no longer the cool guy he once was. He looks back wistfully on his crazy times playing in a band, riding a motorcycle, and getting tattoos. Those days may be behind him, but his young son still thinks he's the coolest guy in the world. Keith Negley is an award-winning editorial illustrator with a penchant for emotionally driven illustration. He's been published in a wide range of major newspapers and national magazines, and is a frequent contributor to the New York Times and New Yorker. He lives in the mountains of Bellingham, Washington, surrounded by rain forests and giant spiders. This is his second book for Flying Eye, following Tough Guys Have Feelings Too!

30 review for My Dad Used to Be So Cool

  1. 5 out of 5

    Abigail

    A young boy believes that his now-boring father was once a punk-rocker in this engaging picture-book from author/illustrator Keith Negley, who made his debut with Tough Guys Have Feelings Too . Pointing to the "proof" he has - his father's instruments, stored away in a closet - the boy imagines his father having a blast. What made his father stop being so cool, he wonders? Then, after a session of playing on the playground, he concludes that his dad can still be a little cool, only to take it A young boy believes that his now-boring father was once a punk-rocker in this engaging picture-book from author/illustrator Keith Negley, who made his debut with Tough Guys Have Feelings Too . Pointing to the "proof" he has - his father's instruments, stored away in a closet - the boy imagines his father having a blast. What made his father stop being so cool, he wonders? Then, after a session of playing on the playground, he concludes that his dad can still be a little cool, only to take it back the next minute, when his father does something embarrassing... Although it is his second book, My Dad Used To Be So Cool is the first title I have picked up from Negley, but it certainly won't be my last! Like so many picture-books from Flying Eye Books, it was visually stunning. I loved Negley's artwork here, with its vivid colors and stylized but expressive figures. The fold-out page depicting their playground visit was fun, although I suspect it will also create physical problems with the book, as the copy I read already had lots of folds and creases where they shouldn't have been, from the pages being folded back incorrectly. I appreciated the story as much as the art, and liked how Negley captured a young boy's mixed feelings about his father, vacillating between pride and embarrassment. I do wonder if young children will grasp the notion, which fairly leaped out at me while reading those passages in which the boy wonders what happened to change his father, that it was the boy himself who caused his father's transformation. Is this something that only an older reader would grasp, or will children take it in as well? I'm not really sure. In any case, even without that insight, there's plenty here to entertain and for the reader to ponder. It's particularly welcome to see a book devoted to the father-son bond in picture-books, as I feel this is still somewhat rare, when compared to the mother-child one. Recommended to readers who enjoy bright, vivid artwork with a lot of graphic appeal, and to anyone searching for children's stories about fathers.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Hadas Tsury

    Cute book! Funny.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kia

    It was okay, but pretty dry and boring. There was minimal text and the pauses were kind of awkward. This book felt more geared towards us parents feeling cool, so that's kind of cool. It was okay, but pretty dry and boring. There was minimal text and the pauses were kind of awkward. This book felt more geared towards us parents feeling cool, so that's kind of cool.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kaylee

    Really cute. Super adorable.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    “Why didn’t I think of that?!” – my frustration when I learn about a cool book (from a friend, Monika, who always has a keen eye for the good stuff) and afterwards when I own and read it I’m really mad at myself for not thinking of it first. Great fun book. Cool illustrations, a quick read and definitely aimed at those used-to-be-cool-dads that might be sporting ink and were in a handful of (not so great punk) rock bands. I think this book might be the catalyst to get my own kids to check out the “Why didn’t I think of that?!” – my frustration when I learn about a cool book (from a friend, Monika, who always has a keen eye for the good stuff) and afterwards when I own and read it I’m really mad at myself for not thinking of it first. Great fun book. Cool illustrations, a quick read and definitely aimed at those used-to-be-cool-dads that might be sporting ink and were in a handful of (not so great punk) rock bands. I think this book might be the catalyst to get my own kids to check out their dad’s videos on YouTube to see him in some past bands. (Will they like it? No – nobody did! But my ego will be content knowing the total views went up by 1!)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kris

    The story is a little simplistic, but the art is perfection, and I adore stories about great dads. Plus, there are pictures of a tattooed guy vacuuming, so bonus.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Raven Black

    Fun and quirky and LOVE the last page!!! Perfect for Dads who are more Ozzy O. then Ozzie N.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    I want to like Negley's books, but as Tough Guys pretty much failed, I think this did, too. At least that one had a message. This one, um, what? Dads aren't cool after all? It's not cool enough to have fun with your kid? If you are a dad who used to be a cool rock star, when you do finally show your creds you get mocked by your son? I dunno. I'm most def. not the target audience so maybe I'm missing something. Otoh, my three grown sons are good people and this is not like anything I shared with t I want to like Negley's books, but as Tough Guys pretty much failed, I think this did, too. At least that one had a message. This one, um, what? Dads aren't cool after all? It's not cool enough to have fun with your kid? If you are a dad who used to be a cool rock star, when you do finally show your creds you get mocked by your son? I dunno. I'm most def. not the target audience so maybe I'm missing something. Otoh, my three grown sons are good people and this is not like anything I shared with them or would have, so what did we all miss out on? I'll read other reviews, I guess.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Donna Mork

    A boy is sure his dad used to be cool. There is evidence he was in a rock band (drums) and had a motorcycle (for sale). Kid wonders what happened to make him give it all up. Then after they play at the playground and have a great day, the kids says maybe his dad is a little bit cool. Then his dad starts singing with the radio and the kids say, no, never mind...he's totally NOT cool. Funny. A boy is sure his dad used to be cool. There is evidence he was in a rock band (drums) and had a motorcycle (for sale). Kid wonders what happened to make him give it all up. Then after they play at the playground and have a great day, the kids says maybe his dad is a little bit cool. Then his dad starts singing with the radio and the kids say, no, never mind...he's totally NOT cool. Funny.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    An thought-provoking book about a young boy who is sure that his dad used to be a musician. Readers are given clues to the dad's history (closet full of band equipment, dad's old motorcycle). They boy speculates on why his father would have stopped being so cool. Children will feel encouraged to interpret from the pictures if dad really was a musician and why he stopped. An thought-provoking book about a young boy who is sure that his dad used to be a musician. Readers are given clues to the dad's history (closet full of band equipment, dad's old motorcycle). They boy speculates on why his father would have stopped being so cool. Children will feel encouraged to interpret from the pictures if dad really was a musician and why he stopped.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Love the art. So disturbed by the message that making art is frivolous, and that the serious work is domestic. Also disturbed by the fact that this is written for adults to feel better about their domesticity; these are not a child's thoughts or concerns -- yet this book poses as a "children's book." The whole thing makes me feel duped. Love the art. So disturbed by the message that making art is frivolous, and that the serious work is domestic. Also disturbed by the fact that this is written for adults to feel better about their domesticity; these are not a child's thoughts or concerns -- yet this book poses as a "children's book." The whole thing makes me feel duped.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Teel

    This book tells a story that most children can easily relate to. They see hints of an expired coolness in their parents and wonder what could have happened to make them so uncool. Combine this story with a fun illustrative style, and you have got a winner.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Vaughn

    Really beautiful, punchy, lively illustrations. Mads (age 5) actively thinks his dad is so cool (he says so all the time), so the story was a little lost on him, but we enjoyed the illustrations mightily.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    A little boy has a hard time believing that his dad used to be a rocker with a motorcycle. After all, he is always serious, doing household chores and taking care of his son. What happened to change his dad?

  15. 5 out of 5

    Margaux

    From the perspective of a child, we learn of suspicions that dad used to be cool and speculation as to what could have changed that. Several wordless pages reflect the idea that while he’s not in a rock band, he’s a pretty good dad.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rakisha

    This was an adorable ode to fatherhood. Perfect as a father's day gift for the new dad or an old dad feeling his age. This was an adorable ode to fatherhood. Perfect as a father's day gift for the new dad or an old dad feeling his age.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    Nice! I really liked the illustrations.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    This is about a boy who knows his dad use to be cool but doesn't know why his dad isn't cool now. This is about a boy who knows his dad use to be cool but doesn't know why his dad isn't cool now.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    Colourful, delightful juvenile book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    Not as cheeky or as funny as I was hoping for, but it is sweet.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Abby Herp

    Good story for children to relate to. Children might wonder what their dad used to be like before they became a dad.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Funny! It’s great to see parents with tattoos in picture books, as so many children’s parents have them.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    The illustration style is gorgeous, the way he uses colours is beautiful. The story is super cute and I'm definitely getting this for all my friends that are new dads. The illustration style is gorgeous, the way he uses colours is beautiful. The story is super cute and I'm definitely getting this for all my friends that are new dads.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa Gudenburr

    A funny book about a kid who thinks his dad used to be cool and in a band. By the end of the book the kid says his dad is still a little bit cool. Would make a good read aloud for Father's Day. A funny book about a kid who thinks his dad used to be cool and in a band. By the end of the book the kid says his dad is still a little bit cool. Would make a good read aloud for Father's Day.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    Love the art style of this book-- I think it will especially speak to GenX, GenY, and older millenial parents. Cute!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Miss Sarah

    A young child talks about how their dad used to do all this fun stuff but n ow he's just a dad. cute references to dad's former life. toddler and up. parents will really like and relate. A young child talks about how their dad used to do all this fun stuff but n ow he's just a dad. cute references to dad's former life. toddler and up. parents will really like and relate.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Saidseni

    Awesome draws, the text not so much.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    Love the vivid illustrations.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Busy Mummy

    Lovely story with gorgeous bold illustrations

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Cute book. I love the illustrations/colour as well.

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