Jimmy Fallon wants to give dads a win with his new book

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

NEW YORK (AP) — Jimmy Fallon spends his evenings as host of NBC's "The Tonight Show," having fits of laughter with Bradley Cooper, pretending to be a teenage girl whose favorite word is "Ew!" and coming up with hashtags, but the favorite part of his day is when he's at home, reading to his almost 2-year-old daughter, Winnie Rose. (His second daughter, Frances Cole, is a baby.)

"It's a really good bonding moment. I know I'm going to miss those days," Fallon said in a recent interview.

He happily listed the titles from his inventory of children's books like "Moo, Baa, La La La!" by Sandra Boynton. "Oh my gosh, it's a great book," he gushed.

Now he's adding his own book to that inventory — "Your Baby's First Word Will Be Dada" (Feiwel & Friends), available in hardcover or as a board book.

"It's a secret mission that no one really discusses when you have a baby. What's baby's first word gonna be? These days the baby's first word is normally iPad," he joked.

Fallon said he was blatantly obvious trying to get Winnie to say "dada."

"I tried to trick my daughter into saying 'dada' because I wanted it to be her first word. I would call everything 'dada.' I'd point to her bottle and go 'dada,' and I'd point to her food and say 'dada.' I really didn't care if she was smart or anything. I just wanted her to say that for the history books," he said.

His efforts didn't work. Fallon said her first word was mama. (His wife is producer Nancy Juvonen.)

Fallon, 40, said he also picked up on what young ones like about story time.

"When they're so little they don't really care about a plot. They're gonna want to point out a balloon or point at the bunny. They want to hear sounds and they look at you and they react to animal sounds. So I was like, 'I want to make a picture book with animals but also an agenda.'"

It's a simple plan and that's the point.

"There is no moral to this story. There's no like, 'Hey, don't be a bully.' The only thing is the secret agenda for the baby to say 'dada.' It's a little sad but it's what dads want," he said.

Fallon joked that he did all the work on the 40-page book himself (except for the illustrations).

"There's no ghost writer on this one," he laughed. "It's maybe 35 words total. I wrote the words 'moo' and 'dada.' That was all me. I'll take full credit."

As his second Father's Day approaches, Fallon said last year's celebration was "kind of sappy because my wife went all out. This year will be special, too, because I have a brand-new baby. I think probably year No. 3, no one will care about me anymore. I'm gonna get an e-card from my wife that says, 'I saw on Facebook that it was Father's Day.' I'll get a Starbucks gift card. The first year you actually celebrate and that's the one that matters so I'm lucky to have two firsts."

Fallon said his favorite quality about his own father is his sense of humor.

"There's a joke in every conversation. I have that to look forward to. I don't know what it's gonna be, but I call him up and we talk and then all of a sudden it's funny."

He said he likes to watch his dad hold his daughters because he imagines it's "kind of how he held me when I was a baby."


Follow Alicia Rancilio online at