They dress warmly and stop at the supermarket for provisions (one packet of gum). Then they walk … past the toddler pool … past the hardware store … past the fish shop … on and on until they're on top of a small hill, away from all the street lights.
By now the little boy is a bit tired and he's not entirely sure what the universe actually is. But he's on an adventure with his dad and that's all that really matters.
He knows that his father has said the universe 'includes everything'. So he watches transfixed as a snail creeps across a stone, as a blade of grass sways in the breeze. As his father stares up at the sky, the little boy stares at a thistle. Yes, the universe is everywhere; he sees it …
Until his father realises what his son is doing and tells him not to be silly, to look up at the stars not down at the thistles!
I confess that I was very annoyed by the father at this point and wanted to lecture him for discouraging his son. Then I remembered that I too am guilty of dismissing something my daughter says or does at times because it's not how I would have said or done it. Mmm, perhaps there's a lesson there!
The story ends beautifully, too, successfully combining wry humour with a touching insight into a father's love for his son and a child's innocent wisdom.
Not just a great story, When Dad Showed Me the Universe is also a gentle reminder to parents that seeing the world through our children's eyes is sometimes the best experience of all.
Title: When Dad Showed Me the Universe
Author: Ulf Stark
Illustrator: Eva Eriksson
Publisher: Gecko Press, $16.99 RRP
Publication Date: July 2015
For ages: 5+
Type: Picture Book