I can say with all honesty that I think that every household with a small child should invest in a copy of the book What Should Danny Do? In my house, it has become invaluable in teaching my son that actions have consequences. The book is a choose your own adventure with 9 different endings.
The main character, Danny, is incredibly relatable for my son Jax. He is an aspiring superhero with dreams of owning a skateboard (something Jax talks about all of the time). As we read the first few pages we found quite a few parallels and Jax was very happy to point them out.
At the beginning of the story, Danny is given a cape from his father. The cape represents Danny’s superpower – the Power to Choose. Throughout his day, Danny must choose how he reacts to different situations – and much like life, his decisions affect the outcome of his day.
The first time I read this book with my 4-year old son Jax he was completely enthralled in the story. The main character was unbelievably relatable for him. Danny starts off practicing his superpowers and playing make-believe, the book started off describing my son almost to a tee, so he was invested right from the beginning.
I feel that it is relevant for me to add that Jax’s interest in books is very specific. He is not one to sit through a story that doesn’t grab his attention by the first page. My toddler’s attention trails off very easily. The interactivity of this book kept him engaged and excited to see what would happen next.
Reading this book with my son was a really proud experience for me. When we came to a crossroads in the story and I gave him a choice on how to move forward – I watched him weigh out the different paths he could take, and each time he came back with the right thing to do. He even went as far as to explain the reason behind his choices. It would be a complete lie to say that my son takes the high road in every obstacle that enters his path throughout the day, he’s a four-year-old learning how to be a decent human being.
Yesterday at pick up from preschool his teacher told me he had an issue with pushing that day, that it was something they were working on. It didn’t sound like my sweet little boy at all, so I asked him about it. He went on to tell me that he pushed a little girl out of his way so he could sit next to his friend at lunch. I was honestly shocked, I definitely didn’t see that coming. I had expected him to tell me that it was an accident – nope. He full-fledge pushed a little girl – not with malice, but because she was where he wanted to be. He didn’t think about the consequences of his actions, only about what he wanted to achieve. I asked him if he ever asked the little girl if she would switch seats with him or looked for a spot where they could all sit together. He said no, that he didn’t think about it. Then I asked him what he thought Danny would do? That sparked something for him. Jax didn’t intend to hurt the little girl that he pushed, he’s not that kind of kid. He has been on this earth for 4 years, and is still learning how to communicate his feelings.
That is my favorite thing about this book series, it helps me to dialogue with my son about how his choices have a butterfly effect. When I ask him ‘What would Danny do?’ – which I honestly have done a few times since we first read the book together, he understands immediately what I am getting at. That when we make good choices our day is better, we are happier and so are the people around us.
It is such a positive message delivered in such a creative way and Jax is legitimately proud of himself when Danny is praised in the book.
Another thing to absolutely love about this book is the authors, no I don’t know them personally – I just feel like I do because I follow them on Instagram. Ganit, a former teacher, and Adir an astrophysics junkie are parents to four children. I also love that Danny is actually a real child – he is their nephew. Many of the scenarios in the book are actually real-life events that had happened to him. I find that to be so endearing.
The book What Should Danny Do? has become my go-to gift lately. I have purchased it for the last few birthday parties we’ve gone to and come Christmas I plan on gifting it to the young children in my family. I sincerely believe that every household with small children should either borrow this book from their local library or purchase it for their own collection. Not only is it a beautifully written, relatable story, the illustrations are colorful and engaging. Most importantly though is that it encourages a constructive dialogue.
I posted a review of this book to my Instagram page (you can check out my account here). I received several messages from teachers telling me that they love this book and others in the series. Many went on to say that they encourage parents to add it to their reading lists. I have also heard from many toddler parents who are hoping that this book can help them ‘not raise jerks’ – because at the end of the day, isn’t that what we’re all trying to do!
What’s funny is that I have to keep telling people that I honestly have no affiliation with this book and that all of this praise I have been giving is legitimately how I feel. As a parent, I just get VERY excited when I find something that works. I hope that you give this book a try as well. It is not expensive at all and honestly worth every penny.
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