Country music star Tim McGraw makes his debut in the children's book market with his father-daughter bonding book, My Little Girl. Co-authored by McGraw and singer/songwriter Tom Douglas, My Little Girl is the story of a young girl named Katie, anticipating a big day with her father. Katie's father has informed her that they will have a spectacular day, and the book opens with Katie making guesses about how they will spend their time together. The little princess' royal fantasies are quickly extinguished when her father tells her they will have a "do nothing day." She can't imagine how a day spent just hanging out together can live up to her expectations. The book's cowboy father figure, entrusted with his little girl's happiness, must prove the value of quality time to his daughter.
My Little Girl is prefaced with an introduction from Faith Hill, sharing a treasured family memory and her hopes that the book will provide a reason for fathers and daughters to connect. Julia Denos' watercolor illustrations add a quaint whimsy to the story, reminiscent of the classic children's tale, How Fletcher Was Hatched by Wende and Harry Devlin. The colors are warm and softly blended, capturing the mood and expressions of a little girl so adorable she's practically demanding to be adopted straight off the pages. She's the quintessential country princess, surrounded by taffeta and her loyal bloodhound.
The storyline, though well-intentioned, fails to inspire. There is a superficial quality to the characters, who are never fully developed or even introduced. The writing hops from one scene to the next without any mode of transition. The use of multiple font colors, sizes, and styles is distracting and actually puts strain on the reader. McGraw and Douglas' songwriting talents do not carry over well into narrative form. It's sweet, but not engaging.
Despite its noble intentions, My Little Girl is the type of book that will sell based on celebrity, not merit. This is evidenced by the incorporation of McGraw's photo into the cover layout. Country music fans will be delighted to own another piece of their beloved superstar, but for readers in search of literary quality, there are better options out there.
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