Courtney Garton, ex-hippie, hat shop owner, divorced and remarried father, had a few goals while raising his two daughters: make sure they survived until nest-leaving age, stayed healthy, didn't get pregnant, got a college education, and maintained a good relationship with their dear old dad. A father with part-time custody, Garton began putting notes in his daughters' lunch bags--rhyming notes, written on napkins, reflecting the ups and downs of everyday life, notes that maintained the lines of communication even when times were tough. ("The woods are full of trees, / The sky is full of clouds. / But do something for me please, / Don't play your music so louds!")
When Garton's daughter Cara went off to college (like her older sister, she was alive, healthy, and not pregnant), she handed him a box of 150 of the napkins she'd saved. "Hey Dad, why don't you write a book?" she challenged. And Garton took her up on it. Cara's napkins, the poems written in silly, sometimes poignant verse, make up the backbone of Napkins, but it is Garton's self-revealing, loving tales of life as a father that really make this book a winner.