cover image Let’s Go See Papá!

Let’s Go See Papá!

Lawrence Schimel, trans. from the Spanish by Elisa Amado, illus. by Alba Marina Rivera. Groundwood (PGW, dist.), $18.95 (48p) ISBN 978-1-55498-106-9

The young narrator hasn’t seen her beloved Papá for “one year, eight months and twenty-two days,” ever since he left Spain to work in the U.S. But now Papá says the girl and her Mamá can join him, which means leaving behind her best friend, her beloved Abuela (“I wish I could go with you to see my son. But I’m too old to change my life,” she says), and, perhaps hardest of all, her beloved dog, Kika. The cheery title aside, this is at times a heart-wrenching story of separation (the girl even tries to pack poor Kika into her suitcase). Schimel, ably translated by Amado, never coddles his heroine or papers over the hard realities she faces; even the ending, which finds the girl on a plane heading for the States, is tinged with emotional ambivalence. Rivera fills the pages with poignant, angular portraits and telling details. For some children (and even adults) it may be too somber, but there will be readers who will admire the heroine’s stoicism and faith in the importance of having her family whole again. Ages 4–7. (Nov.)