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Peter Catalanotto
Dad & Me

Ages 4-8 and Dads


Great joy and wonderful memories can be had when father and son play and imagine together. Tommy and his Dad are no exception. They share Tommy’s love of space and stay connected through walkie-talkies and imaginary space walks. But on June 3, 1965, the day of Gemini Four and the first US space walk, Dad has an important meeting and will not be able to listen to the space walk, but they plan to listen to the evening news together.

At school, Tommy watches the liftoff and participates with the countdown with his class. "Five, four, three, two, one… Blastoff!

When he arrives home, his Mother shows him a picture in the newspaper of the Astronaut floating in space. He promises not to mess up the paper before Dad sees it and goes off to his room to reenact this marvelous space walk himself, outfitted with a four-footed colander for his helmet and rope tether.

"I strap co-pilot King beside me in our rocket. We orbit the moon and in a minute I step out of the capsule and float high above the earth. I look for my house. But I move too far out and my lifeline disconnects. I must radio for help.
I must –
Beep! Beeeeeeep! Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!” Dad is home.

Tommy runs with excitement to tell Dad about the blastoff, the picture in the newspaper and his own lifeline disconnecting, but his Dad growls. "Move your bike. Now!”

Tommy and Dad disconnect! Tommy's excitement is dashed. "A million stars burst in my body. Hot and cold."

"I’ll show him. I’ll float far, far away. I’ll hide behind Mars so whenever he looks for me I’ll be gone and he’ll be sorry…. I’ll show him. I’ll stay in space for years. The whole world will be looking for me.”

When Dad sees Tommy’s message crayoned on the newspaper, he realizes that he has to make time for his son.

Peter Catalanotto’s illustrations and text are powerful and loaded with symbolism. It is an important message about the relationship between fathers and sons.