A Father’s Day tribute to Great Dads of Literature

This coming Sunday we celebrate the fathers in our lives. So, in keeping with my earlier blog post about Mother’s Day, here’s my Father’s Day celebration of dads in books.

5. Pongo, from The Hundred and One Dalmatians, by Dodie Smith

Pongo’s wife Missus made it into my Mother’s Day list of literary moms. Pongo, like his wife, was loyal to his spouse, loyal to his children, and loyal to his Dalmatian friends Perdita and Prince. And compassionate enough to adopt eighty-some other puppies as his own kids.

4. Pa Ingalls, from The Little House on the Prairie series, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Perhaps Charles Ingalls doesn’t belong on this list, since he was actually a real person. But he was a top-notch dad nonetheless. He led his family into the great unknown of the west, because he believed it would be the best opportunity for his family and provide his children with the best future. And all through sicknesses, natural disasters, and the general hard labor of a farmer, he kept a positive attitude, kept his love for God, and always showed love for his daughters.

3. James Henry Alden, from The Boxcar Children series, by Gertrude Chandler Warner

Grandfather Alden must have been a good dad, because he was an excellent granddad. The parents of the Boxcar Children had passed away, and so Mr. Alden went hunting for his elusive grandchildren. The self-sufficient kids were delighted to have a family again, but Mr. Alden never let them lose the independence they’d gained. He provided a home, love, support, and advice, and was there to bail them out if they truly got into danger—but he let his grandkids explore their world in their own way, and always treated them with respect, no matter their age.

2. Samwise Gamgee, from the Lord of the Rings series, by J.R.R. Tolkien

Sam didn’t actually become a father until the very end of the last book. But we learned what sort of father that he would be based on his undying loyalty to Frodo and his determination to always do what was right. These traits, along with his eternal hopefulness and his love of all living things, earned him hero status. Every dad wants to be a hero to his children, and Sam achieved this—despite his best efforts to remain a respectable hobbit and stay at home in his garden.

1. Mark Christopher, from The Choice, by Og Mandino

Mark did all the right things as a dad—provided a stable and loving home for his family, and showed his kids how to pursue a dream and deal with the consequences of achieving it, both good and bad. And he was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice—to lay down his own life to save his son’s. That’s a loving dad.

Don’t forget to wish your dad a happy father’s day!