A child confronts feelings of exclusion and loss on Father’s Day.
Flora Gardener, depicted in the comic-style art as a child of color with tight, dark curls and light brown, freckled skin, has never met her father. Her imagined vision of him in an inmate’s uniform (deftly illustrated in line drawings that stand apart from the full-color art of the real world) later establishes that he’s incarcerated. When her class makes cards in anticipation of a Daddy Day picnic, Flora is bereft, but she notices that Jonas, or “Bork,” a white-appearing boy with blond hair, light skin, and blue eyes, seems sad, too. The teacher’s efforts to make her feel included (suggesting she make a card for an uncle or a grandfather and inviting her to sit on her blanket at the picnic) underscore how unfair such exclusive activities are. The story doesn’t reach full resolution and instead points readers toward an anticipated sequel, but it does depict Bork’s decision to make a card for President Barack Obama since his father is dead and “the president is sort of everybody’s dad” as well as the happy moment when Flora’s mother comes to the picnic. Her mother’s reticence about Flora’s father is perhaps the most poignant story element, and readers will hope she will share more about him in the sequel.
The beginning of a needed story. (Picture book. 4-9)