Daddy & Dada

Little, Brown. May 2021. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780316427029.
PreS-Gr 2–Written by real-life fathers and couple Brockington and Webster, this sweet and affirming picture book is a love letter to all kinds of families. On the title page, blonde, four-year-old narrator Rumi introduces herself to readers. The page turn presents Daddy and Dada, who are lovingly depicted with their arms around each other. Though Daddy and Dada interact with Rumi differently, they both love her “THIS much.” Readers then meet the two other members of the family: baby Xander and dog Betty; all but Xander have very pale skin. For the rest of the book, Rumi ruminates on other types of families that she sees, ranging from two to nine family members (including pets). Rumi also expands her description of her own family to include grandparents, uncles, an aunt, cousins, and even a friend who calls her a sister. As her dads say, “Sometimes friends are just like family.” In the final spread, Rumi asks readers about their own families. May’s digital cartoon illustrations and the book’s sunny tone make for a warm and inviting story. Readers looking for books that normalize LGBTQ+ families will be delighted that this inclusive title is matter-of-fact without needing to defend or overly explain. While the featured family is white, Rumi notices a diverse array of families with various skin tones (and one wheelchair user). For all its attempted inclusivity, however, it is disappointing not to see different body sizes represented as well.
VERDICT A positive, kid-friendly addition for all picture book collections.

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