cover image My Dad Is a Clown/Mi papá es un payaso

My Dad Is a Clown/Mi papá es un payaso

José Carlos Andrés, illus. by Natalia Hernández. NubeOcho (Consortium, dist.), $14.95 (40p) ISBN 978-84-944137-6-6

A boy with two fathers learns that being a clown is serious business in this tender bilingual story from Andrés (Carlota Wouldn’t Say Boo), who is himself a professional clown, and Spanish illustrator Hernández. Andrés’s young narrator couldn’t be prouder of his father’s work: “Imagine how important it is. He makes people laugh. Laugh!” (He’s equally proud of his other father, Pascual, a doctor.) In a somewhat discursive sequence of events, the boy and Pascual secretly follow the boy’s father to one of his rehearsals, during which the boy muses on adult life (“I thought it was rather boring, running and cycling without going anywhere,” he says after catching up to his father at the gym), sees the work that goes into clowning (including practicing falls and pretending to cry), and contemplates his own future careers. Hernández contributes playful black and white cartoons, accented with red, that feature a cast of chunky-headed, emoji-cute characters. More family story than comedy, Andrés tale is less concerned with making children laugh than reminding them that it’s good for the soul to do so. Ages 4–up. (Feb.)