I totally cried during this book. About tattoos, of all things. Curse Alison McGhee! That woman just has my number!

Title: Tell Me a Tattoo Story
Author: Alison McGhee
Illustrator: Eliza Wheeler
Rating: 9
Readability: 9
Source: Raincoast Books for Review

Description from Goodreads:

A bestselling author-illustrator duo join forces to create a modern father-son love story. The father tells his little son the story behind each of his tattoos, and together they go on a beautiful journey through family history. There’s a tattoo from a favorite book his mother used to read him, one from something his father used to tell him, and one from the longest trip he ever took. And there is a little heart with numbers inside—which might be the best tattoo of them all. Tender pictures by New York Times bestselling illustrator Eliza Wheeler complement this lovely ode to all that’s indelible—ink and love.

What I Liked:

[Disclaimer: I’m a Mormon, and one of the things that we believe is that we shouldn’t get tattoos because our bodies are special and we should keep body modifications to a minimum. Personally I don’t have anything against tattoos, (other than tramp stamps. Those should be illegal) and if I didn’t have my beliefs and if I wasn’t scared senseless by needles I would totally get a Deathly Hallows tattoo. But I just wanted to share where I’m coming from before I go on with this review!]

This was a fantastic story. Actually, a collection of stories since the Dad is telling his son the tale of each of his tattoos. Each page is a glimpse into the father (and son’s) history. The illustrations are so beautiful and hipstery (that’s a word.) and facilitate the emotional journey brilliantly.

There were a lot of little touches that I just loved. The fact that the Dad was the one doing dishes with the son while the Mom is writing in the other room. That the book his mother read to him was the Hobbit. The café where he meets his wife is called the Café de l’amour. It takes the book to that next level of intricacy and loveliness.

My Mom was with me when I was running errands and read this book to me in the van after I got it from the post office… and I teared up. It was just so sweet. Curse you Alison McGhee!

This book would be the perfect addition to any budding hipster’s library.

What I Didn’t Like:

I would have liked if the Dad had told his son about their matching wedding ring tattoos. I missed it the first several times I read the book!

The Dad called his son “little man” throughout the book and I would have just liked it more if he had called him either his name or something else. But that’s if I’m being very picky!


Here’s my review of Alison McGhee’s other book that made me cry.

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Boo hoo hoo. I’m Erin and everything that Alison writes makes me cry like a big fat baby.