It’s playtime with papa.
“My papa is a lot of things…” says the young narrator at the start of this short picture book. As the pages turn, the titular papa is proclaimed to be a hair stylist, an astronaut, a master chef, a firefighter, and more. With each assertion, this child’s papa appears in a literal interpretation (wearing a red helmet and behind the wheel of a red race car, helmeted child riding shotgun) and then in what readers will see is the real-life situation (on his belly on the floor next to his child playing with toy cars and earnestly making “vroom” noises). This celebration of everything a father can be is illustrated with warm, rounded figures boasting deep hues that make for a comfy read. The compositions have an immediacy to them that draws readers in, close into the action. Scenarios vary from double-page spreads with imagined scenes on versos and real-life on rectos and pairs of double-page spreads, a rhythm that maintains a nice pace. The spread alluded to in the title presents two tiara-clad playmates, the dad sweetly unself-conscious in a blue ball gown, with child in pink. Both characters present white, dad with glasses and brown hair and beard; his child has hair cut in a blond pageboy and frequently wears a dress. Of course, the best thing about papa is that he is “My papa!”
A heartwarming read. (Picture book. 2-4)