cover image Papa, Daddy, & Riley

Papa, Daddy, & Riley

Seamus Kirst, illus. by Devon Holzwarth. Magination, $14.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4338-3239-0

When Riley’s fathers drop her off on the first day of school, lots of different families are present (a grandmother, a foster mom), but when the students head into the classroom, a kid called Olive wants to know which of Riley’s parents “is the real dad.” Riley spends the day confused, considering the significant experiences she shares with each of her parents: Riley’s brown-skinned Daddy calls her dragon and loves to bake and swim with her; her white-skinned Papa calls her princess and enjoys singing and painting alongside her. Crayon and wash textures feature in Holzwarth’s warm illustrations, in which moody shadows and backgrounds convey underlying emotions. Though the text can feel a little on the nose (“I don’t want to have to choose!” says Riley), the message—that what makes a family is love—is sound. Ages 4–8. (May)