Great Expectations


In celebration of our new page – Great Movies Among Dad & Daughters – we want to tell you about the film that started it all.

I am always searching the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) channel to find films that I think our daughters and I might enjoy watching together on the weekends. I learned several years ago that this channel can be a treasure to parents and caregivers of young families who are hoping to find something to watch that is not gruesome or laced with foul language and is not interested in shocking viewers with nudity or sex. There are not even any commercials! Simply put, it’s a concerned dad’s paradise when he wants to enjoy a good movie with his kids.

When I ran across the 1946 film version of Charles Dickens‘ classic literary work, Great Expectations, I was intrigued. This is a major book and one that would eventually be required of the girls to read in our local high school’s English class. Right now, though, they are 9 and 14 so I wondered if it would it be over their heads or vastly boring to them. I hit the record button anyway and decided we would watch it together and find out.

And wow!  What a movie!  What a story!  It has even inspired us to create a new page here at fatherknowsbooks titled ‘Great Movies Among Dad and Daughters.’ Check it out on our home page.

I can’t say enough good about this cinematic work, so see it whenever you can.

As the credits rolled over the final and very moving scene of the movie, the girls and I got into a conversation about why Dickens might have chosen to title his story “Great Expectations.”  It was a good talk but the most interesting thing happened – we decided that the one who experienced the “great expectations” the most in the story was us, the readers, the silent observers of the tale.  We expected certain things from certain people and were always surprised when those expectations were completely incorrect.  We judged based upon wealth and intelligence and kindness and beauty, never expecting that those very things were causing us to expect something that was not going to happen – in the way we planned it.

And that has me thinking…sounds a whole lot like real life to me.


Baby Frederico Makes-a-Movie Thursday!


*Every Thursday we introduce you to another quick bedtime story (or book review or movie) from our family’s favorite resident reptile – Baby Frederico. His backstory can be found here.  Enjoy!

Baby Frederico loves his Momma Mia and Papá Frita, his buddy Grenelda the Grasshopper, blue crayons, popcorn and…animal crackers.  Here is something entirely new!

I’ve made a fun movie at the house with my friends.  Maybe you can even make up your own version of the story you will see here! Either way, enjoy:


Claire Speaks: Frozen


A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us. – Franz Kafka

I am thankful for a daughter who writes! Claire thinks with a pen in hand and was gracious in helping me with this week’s work on the website. So, sharing her perspective about the movie and book Frozen, allow me to officially invite you to hear from fatherknowsbooks very first guest blogger:

Frozen. The movie has swept the nation with its super catchy music and the amazing lessons it teaches. This movie has been awarded Best Original Song for “Let It Go” ( I know you just stopped and sang it at the top of your lungs, don’t deny it), has been nominated for Best Animated Film, has made more than The Lion King($715,000,000 since January), and there are rumors of a Broadway musical – all in its short span of existence on the big screen.

If you looked very closely while the credits were rolling, you saw that Frozen was actually based off of a book called The Snow Queen. This was a story by the outstandingly tremendous children’s author Hans Christian Anderson. He has actually written a couple of stories that inspired their transformation into some of most beloved princess movies in all of Disney history. One example is The Little Mermaid and now…Frozen!

Though there may be many reasons for such success, from my perspective the narrative that so moves us in Frozen is the simple act of a sister’s love. It is a love that knows no bounds and will transform a frozen heart.

The story ends as a tribute to anyone who has ever given themselves as a sacrifice for another:
 “You sacrificed yourself for me?” Elsa asked in wonder.
                                Still weak, Anna replied simply, “I love you.”

The Fathers of Mary Poppins


Finally, we went to see the movie Saving Mr. Banks.  It is the profoundly moving story of Australian native P.L. Travers (1899-1996), the author of the Mary Poppins book series, and Walt Disney (1901-1966), who desperately wanted to fulfill a 20 year-old promise to his daughters that he would make their beloved book into a beloved cinematic wonder.

Though the musical fantasy eventually debuted on August 27, 1964 to rave reviews and forever cemented the lives of its lead actors, Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, into Disney’s forever wonderland as well as the imaginations of children for generations to come, 2013 welcomed Saving Mr. Banks as it beautifully tells what happened not only behind-the-scenes at Disney Studios that led to their movie, but even more importantly, in the young life of Pamela Travers that led to her book.

I won’t say more about the film itself other than to implore you to see it, especially if you are a father.  This one movie is the Father’s Day movie of our time.  It is all about fathers and it is all about the enormous impact that they have upon the lives of their children.  When Ms. Travers realizes that the Sherman Brothers and Mr. Disney believe her book is about Mary Poppins saving the children, she is stunned (and her response stunned me).  It is about saving the father, and that sentiment is at the core of this movie – from Travers’ father to the father she created in her books, to Walt Disney’s father and his own life as a father – and, if you are also a father, it is one mesmerizing event.

I will never forget this movie.  For years, we have had most of the P.L. Travers works (Mary Poppins Comes Back, Mary Poppins in the Park, and Mary Poppins from A to Z), but have never read them.  That ends tonight.  We will review each of them here on the website in the coming months.  So dads, gather up your own kids and get these books and join us as we begin the adventure.  Or at the very least, “go fly a kite!”