FICTION
My Papi Has a Motorcycle
illus. by Zeke Peña. 40p. Penguin/Kokila. May 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780525553410.
COPY ISBN
RedReviewStarK-Gr 2—A radiant ode to a young girl's father and her L.A. neighborhood. Every evening, Daisy and her papi snap on their helmets (hers is purple with a unicorn, his a black vintage variety) and begin their ride on his electric blue motorcycle through Corona, CA. At times they "roar past" taquerias and murals, and other times they "cruise," greeting family and neighbors as they pass by. All the while, Daisy absorbs the sights, sounds, and smells of her beloved hometown, imprinting its idiosyncrasies into memory. Daisy's experiences mirror Quintero's childhood memories, recounted through tender language and vivid sensory details. Recalling the motorcycle rides with her papi is an exercise in familial love, but also a way to honor a hometown and present the changes from gentrification. Although the topic is touched upon lightly, its complexity percolates and becomes much more vivid with multiple reads. The illustrations faithfully capture the merriment and love through careful details and a low-key color palette that alludes to warm memories being made and recollected. Peña makes felicitous use of his comics chops, incorporating speech balloons with Spanish phrases, onomatopoeia, and panels to convey movement. Quintero's writing and Peña's art coalesce most beautifully in the infectious look of joy on Daisy's face throughout.
VERDICT A book that radiates sheer happiness without shying from reality. Highly recommended for all libraries.

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