Williams’ heartfelt text, published posthumously, supports Raschka’s expressive illustrations to tell the story of a child adopted by two dads.
At last, picture books featuring diverse family constellations are entering mainstream publishing in greater numbers, and Williams’ text does a fine job of depicting the complexities of adoption. This isn’t a story of a longed-for infant going happily-ever-after home to loving, adoptive parents. Lester is a boy of perhaps 6 who lived in a group home while Daddy Rich and Daddy Albert completed the adoption process. Lester and Daddy Albert seem white, with straight blond hair and light skin, while bearded Daddy Rich has a slightly darker complexion and curly dark hair, rendering his race ambiguous. The text opens on his homecoming day, and later, a few lines fill in Lester’s back story of loss. It touches on the range of emotions Lester feels as he learns to trust his new parents while also acknowledging the fathers’ struggle to adjust—especially Daddy Albert, who has “a big temper.” Raschka’s paintings (which backmatter says Williams helped him sketch before her death) add emotional depth to the setbacks, miscommunications, and moments of joy punctuating the lengthy text. At the book’s end, with the help of dog Wincka and extended family, too, Lester feels “truly home at last.”
A book to welcome into all kinds of homes. (Picture book. 4-8)