As a complete novice at this whole dad game, I decided to do what I do best and read some books. First in my pile was the highly recommended “Pocket Commando Dad: Advice for New Recruits to Fatherhood: From Birth to 12 months” by Neil Sinclair. Being a man and therefore having an intrinsic obsession with everything army related, this book stood out from the rest of the significantly more formal books on my pre-birth reading list.
From the outset I loved the simplicity of the book. The “mission” of being a dad is quickly explained and is broken down into key chapters, each of which is given an army based title – my favourite being “On Manoeuvres: Transporting The Troops”. These make the whole dad thing so much more accessible for people like me who don’t have the actual experience of having a child yet. The chapter “The Advance Party: Preparing Base Camp” is so helpful for expectant fathers and for me personally, really built my confidence and made me feel that I am doing things right.
What I really loved was the way the book was written. The content is concise and precise, offering a huge amount of quality information. All of the material is visually accessible and the “Commando Dad Top Tips” are great for quick reference. Using a bullet pointed discourse structure makes the text (and the content) really easy to engage with. As well as this, the phrasing is really entertaining and I found myself laughing a fair bit when I was reading through. Like I say, it was the army theme that drew me to the book to begin with – rest assured it isn’t just the name of the book and the cover that is themed like this! My favourite feature of this book is the way Sinclair has used his militaristic language and applied it to fatherhood. It creates a comedic tone and allows him to give some great advice in a non-invasive, highly relatable way. I mean who isn’t going to read something with the title “Transporting troopers by car”. In all honesty, I lapped up every page just because it was written so well.
The book is topped off with hilarious but highly effective illustrations. As a non-experienced father one of my biggest fears is not being able to do things properly. The Pocket Commando Dad uses pictures to make things really, really simple and has filled me with confidence when it comes to things that I haven’t had a go at before. I held my head high in MotherCare when I whipped the baby carrier straight on without instruction. A proud moment.
Overall I loved this book. If you’re looking for a clear and simple guide to doing dad things right, I would certainly get this book. Even if it’s just for a laugh, I would highly recommend it for dads-to-be and dads who are looking for a helping hand with bits.