Wendy Michaels and Donna Gibbs analyse several Australian children's texts regarding the 'pattern and trends in relation to the representation of father and father-figures' (37). They believe it is crucial for young adult readers to develop a critical awareness of 'the subtle processes at work in the fiction they are reading' because of the significance textual representation plays in the construction of child-adolescent identity (42-43). The discussion refers to previous studies concerning the construction of masculinity and femininity and the role of children's fiction as a socialising agent regarding appropriate gender roles providing a framework for the interrogation of textual constructions and representations of the father/child relationship. A close reading of Dogs and The Simple Gift precedes a shorter discussion of the novels Touch Me, Thursday's Child, Wolf on the Fold and Fighting Ruben Wolf, and leads Michaels and Gibbs to contend that none of the fathers in the stories are portayed as having a strong relationship with their children and they draw an interesting parallel to the roles ascribed to wicked step-mothers, arguing that currently, young adult readers are presented with models of masculine behaviour that reinforce cultural stereotypes of fathers as essentially ineffectual or morally bankrupt - or both (42). Effective parenting is often directed at surrogate children rather than biological children while it is the serious flaws and shortcomings of the father-child relationship that are of central concern in the novels discussed (40).