cover image Dad Bakes

Dad Bakes

Katie Yamasaki. Norton, $17.95 (48p) ISBN 978-1-324-01541-3

Inspired by families affected by incarceration, muralist Yamasaki (Everything Naomi Loved) follows a bald, tattooed, apparently East Asian father and his child in this deceptively simple picture book. “Dad wakes,” the volume opens; he stretches as a clock reads 3 a.m., a golden ribbon with a protracted “yawn” stretching from his mouth. Heading out through empty city streets (“The moon shines./ Dad walks”), he arrives at Rise Up! Bakery, where he joins tattooed Black and brown-skinned employees in baking bread. Author-illustrator Yamasaki offers spare, cadenced prose: “He scoops./ He kneads./ He rolls.// Dough rises./ Dad makes small rolls,/ Dad makes large loaves.” At daybreak, Dad returns home; after resting, he and his child make their own dough, waiting for it to rise as they spend time together in paneled vignettes—gardening, reading, playing soccer—before Dad gives his child a warm surprise. Richly saturated, dynamic paintings showcase expressive, inclusive community, and intricately detailed spreads offer plenty to pore over in this meditative tale centering the significance of daily rhythms as well as familial and community love. Back matter includes an affecting author’s note, including links to organizations that support formerly incarcerated people and their families. Ages 6–8. (Sept.)