Squeeze the Day with Gator Dad by Brian Lies!

From the New York Times bestselling author-illustrator of Bats at the Beach, comes a new picture book that celebrates the special bond between father and child. Inspired by his own years as a stay-at-home dad, Brian Lies wrote Gator Dad as an ode to dads and their kids making it the perfect book to celebrate Father’s Day 365 days a year.

Organize a fun storytime or Father’s Day-inspired party with our Gator’s Dad event kit! Complete with Gator Games, ice breaker ideas, invitations, printable nametags, wristbands, activity sheets, and more. Also available at our HMH Resource Library.


From seemingly mundane tasks such as grocery shopping to more active pursuits like a romp at the park and fort-building, a loving father alligator shows his gator kids that the simplest pleasures done together can make for an incredibly fun day. Gator Dad revels in the inventive—and sometimes unorthodox—ways that dads do things.


When Brian’s wife returned to the marketing world after maternity leave, it made sense for him to care for their daughter, since he already worked from home. Gator Dad comes from his experiences as a male minority at the playground, from well-meaning comments by fellow shoppers about him merely “babysitting,” and from the idea that being an involved parent is more important than how you do things. Now that his daughter is grown, he fondly remembers these years and how time at home with his daughter helped form a great foundation for their relationship.


Follow along with our Picture Book Parade for a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Gator Dad later this month, and join the conversation using the hashtag #PictureBookParade. Here’s a taste of what you’ll learn about Brian’s studio and process in Brian’s own words…

Gator Dad office

“When I’m working on sketches and final art for a book, I tape the images up in order on the walls of my studio, to see how the story progresses from page to page. Here, you see my typical clutter. Not only are images all over the walls, but copies and notes litter my writing desk, as well.”

inspiration drawing

“I’ve been thinking about the story that would become Gator Dad for a while. This is the sketch which started it all, in a decade-old sketchbook. A father gator comforts a little gator as they sit on some kind of wall. I’d written the words “you can come to me” nearby. As I worked up the story, I considered switching the animals to something fuzzy. Bunnies? Bears? But I decided that an alligator was the best combination of a slightly tough exterior and a more caring interior.”

jacket illo process

“This image shows how I approach a painting. I sketch the drawing onto the paper I’ll paint on, then do an underpainting to establish some shapes and shadows, usually in a sienna/umber tone. Then come the backgrounds and skies, followed at last by the figures and any foreground elements. White tape around the outside of the painting allows me to have a crisp, straight margin around the painting when the tape is peeled off.”

Gator Dad is on sale May 3rd! Learn more here. And don’t forget to pay Brian a visit at his website: www.brianlies.com.